As many a jaded sports fan can attest, the loss of a longtime leader will always affect a franchise. Consider the case of Crash Bandicoot – a much loved and highly successful series, scuppered by the loss of its original, iconic developer. In short: no more Naughty Dog, no more quality titles from Crash.
It’s this exact kind of situation that Microsoft will be hoping to avoid when it redeploys the Gears of War corp on Xbox One. Having published the chainsaw-wielding series since its 2006 debut, the company will now assume direct control over the franchise for the very first time. With previous tenants Epic Games now completely out of the picture, and new boys Black Tusk Studios— formerly Microsoft Vancouver — stepping in to take the reigns, the series stands at something of a junction.
It’s a reality that Microsoft’s Phil Spencer seems ready to accept. Posting on his Twitter account earlier this week, the studio head responded to calls for a release window by instead releasing a mission statement of his own:
“I can say [the] first original GoW from [Black Tusk] has to reignite [the] franchise and grow it, [It] won’t be a quick turn [around] […] I believe we’ve built the right team to achieve that goal, I just want to give them the time.”
With last year’s Gears of Wars: Judgment coming in for criticism over its solid, but samey play style, it’s no wonder the company is now attempting to distance itself from that game’s relatively unambitious scope. To see what Game Rant made of the title, check out our full review.
While it may seem unusual for a corporate giant like Microsoft to prize quality and craftsmanship over concrete release dates, it’s important to remember that this same stance served the company well with Halo 4, a game that succeeded beyond all expectation, despite also moving to a new studio.
Can Gears of War return to winning ways on Xbox One? Will Black Tusk be able to iterate and improve upon Epic’s formula? Which parts of the franchise require an immediate rethink? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest Microsoft news, right here on Game Rant.
‘Gears of War 4’ has yet to receive an official title or even a prospective release date. The sequel is expected to appear on Microsoft’s Xbox One system, with a PC port also possible.
Follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo.