Now that Microsoft has officially acquired the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, assigned the franchise to the Vancouver-based Black Tusk Studios, and hired on Rod Fergusson to ensure that development proceeds smoothly, it appears that it won’t be too long before gamers will be getting their hands on a brand new game in the franchise.
While Fergusson returning to work on the series is a solid reassurance for fans left skeptical over the transition, one noteworthy name that’s still missing is Clifford Bleszinski. The famed dev left Epic Games in 2012 to pursue other projects (the latest of which Cliff has been teasing with concept art for several months) but Bleszinski has always been heavily associated with the Gears of War brand given his involvement in every installment released thus far – albeit very brief in the case of Gears of War: Judgment.
Despite having his baby switch hands to another company, Cliff states in his blog that this property is something he left behind and feels like Rod Fergusson and Black Tusk Studios will “take good care of her.” He then followed up by adding that this should put an end to speculation that the property could come to PlayStation.
“To be honest, I don’t think the franchise could be in better hands. Heck, Rod’s Twitter handle, to this day, is “Gears Viking.” Gears is just as much Rod’s baby as it was mine. He’ll take good care of her.”
“Phil Spencer went out of his way to give me a phone call to inform me of the transaction last week. Phil, you didn’t have to do that, you’re a gentleman. I appreciate it; that goes a long way. 343 knocked it out of the park with Halo and I think Black Tusk will do a fantastic job with Gears.”
“I suppose this puts the nail in the coffin of the question “Will Gears ever come to Playstation?””
As it may be obvious by those comments, Bleszinski will not have any sort of role in the development of the upcoming Gears of War game. He’s focussed solely on bringing his new IP to the market in hopes of impacting gamers in a comparable fashion to Gears, and he made that much absolutely clear to those hoping he’d be involved with the new project in one way or another.
“I’m not going to move to Vancouver and work on it. I’m not going to consult on it. My headspace is in the future now, not the past. I have come to realize that until you give people something new to focus on they will obsess about the past. (good problem to have!)”
“To those of you who love Gears, I love you as well, and I appreciate your support through the years. The fandom, the cosplay, the tattoos, it all means more than any amount of money could ever mean. These recent events have steeled my resolve to make something entirely new. Time for new cosplay, new tattoos, new fandom. Fingers crossed there will be news soon.”
This transition is akin to the departure of Bungie from Microsoft and the resulting shift of development duties to 343 Industries, a transition that Cliff alludes to and touches on in regards to his comment about Halo. The truth of the matter is that Microsoft has compiled a very talented team at Black Tusk Studios and it has no intention of churning out an installment that could damage its newly acquired Gears of War brand.
If Bleszinski is truly content with 343 Industries’ Halo 4, then he may find assurance in knowing that the game’s narrative director, Armando Troisi, currently works at Black Tusk as a transmedia narrative director. Whether the ‘transmedia’ added to Troisi’s title could pertain to expanding the franchise past games remains to be seen – although it makes sense given Microsoft’s plans for a Halo television series – but the quality of the team that’s been assembled in Vancouver appears to be quite solid.
Would you rather have Bleszinski back on board for Gears of War or have him create an entirely new IP? Do you agree with Cliff that Gears is in good hands?
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Source: Cliff Bleszinski