Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it had purchased the Gears of War property from Epic Games for an undisclosed sum. Many fans of the Gears of War franchise were not at all content by the move, and although bringing Rod Fergusson on board to oversee the project adds reassurance, some diehard followers are still skeptical of Black Tusk Studios — the new (and largely untested) first-party developer that has taken over development duty for the series.
Gearsheads have had some time to ponder the situation, and while some critics can’t see any good coming from a Microsoft-developed Gears of War game, even Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney believes the sale was best for franchise aficionados. During a recent interview between Polygon and Sweeney, the head honcho stated that Marcus Fenix and friends just didn’t fit into the company’s “new direction.”
In fact, had Microsoft not purchased the rights to the series, Sweeney admits that Epic Games would have simply allowed Gears of War to “sit on the shelf for a decade or more.”
“We’ve gone through a long process of figuring out the games we’re going to build at Epic worldwide in the future and we concluded that we weren’t going to be building any more Gears of War. As much as we love the game, we’re heading in a new direction.”
“The core Gears values are really tied to being big event-based, single-player console games with awesome cover mechanics and other things that really didn’t translate into the future approach we were taking with online games, and competitive and cooperative multiplayer. Because we weren’t planning on building any more Gears games we were just going to let that sit on the shelf for a decade or more, in case it had any future value to us.”
Taking that into consideration, the Chief Executive Officer of Epic Games realized that selling Gears of War to Microsoft was what was best for a community that was longing to see more.
“It was one of those rare moments when both Epic and Microsoft were able to make a business that was obviously best for the community. Much better to have Microsoft building Gears games than for it to be sitting on the shelf unused by Epic. Selling an IP like that is a rare thing. Most companies look at it as their crown jewels but at Epic we had a practical view of it: We weren’t going to build it and we realized the world wanted more Gears of War.”
Major transactions like the one that occurred between Microsoft and Epic Games aren’t common practice in the gaming industry, as Sweeney himself admitted, but it really does appear to be the best move for the community. Instead of letting the fan base dwindle into obscurity over the course of the next decade or so, Microsoft will be taking the necessary steps to ensure that a quality Gears of War title will be making its way into the hands of fans across the globe much sooner.
With Gears veteran, Rod Fergusson, on board — and Cliff Bleszinski giving his seal of approval on the transaction — it’s safe to say that the newly acquired property is in safe hands at Black Tusk Studios. Of course, there are a handful of things that fans will want to see added to the next installment in the series, but the reality is that it’s still a long wait before gamers will get glimpse of what’s in store. Although it was recently confirmed that the next iteration will “reignite” and “grow” the Gears of War franchise, so at least that’s something for Xbox One owners to go on.
Are you glad that Microsoft will be bringing fans a new Gears of War game much sooner? Would you have rather waited a decade or more for a new installment? Let us know in the comments below!
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