The newly formed Microsoft Vancouver has been on the receiving end of a name change, and will now be forever known as Black Tusk Studios. The studio previously worked on the failed Microsoft Flight, and there were even rumors of the studio’s closure shortly there after. Fortunately, those rumors didn’t pan out, and now the team is gearing up to work on the next big blockbuster for Microsoft — in fact, there are currently plans to expand the studio’s staff significantly in the coming months.

Speaking with the Vancouver Sun, studio manager Mike Crump confirmed that him and his team are getting prepared to make an original property, not only completely original, but comparable to that of Microsoft’s immensely popular Halo series.

“We are actively recruiting. What that means is we are working on Microsoft’s next big entertainment franchise. We’re not working on an existing franchise, we’re looking to build the next Halo here in Vancouver, for example, which is really exciting. We are building something from the ground up.”

Prior to being re-branded, Microsoft Vancouver wasn’t having much luck at all. Aside from the previously mentioned Microsoft Flight mishap, the team also cancelled what was dubbed a “triple-A Kinect game.” The future was uncertain for those at the studio, but now they’ve redirected their efforts (into what they undoubtedly hope will be) a massive new franchise for the house that Bill Gates built. This is also great news for unemployed game-makers in the area that have been left career-less thanks in part to other big-name studios, such as Rockstar Games, closing their doors in recent months.

The core team behind Black Tusk is comprised mostly of former EA developers that have a minimum of 12 years experience in the industry, and know what to do when it comes to “big games, big teams, big budgets, long timelines.” So, that’s an encouraging sign that the team is well aware of how to actually create a game. Whether or not the unannounced title turns out to be as successful as Halo is up for debate, but it’s reassuring to know that gamers can look forward to something new coming from Microsoft… eventually.

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Source: Vancouver Sun & Black Tusk Studios (via The Escapist)