Yesterday brought some interesting and surprising news from Microsoft. They have outright purchased the Gears Of War franchise and rights. Not just the future games, but the past games as well. Not only have they secured the Gears Of War games, but they’ve also secured the rights to all the merchandise and entertainment aspects as well. What does all of this mean for the future of Gears Of War?
When I heard the news my first thought was that it will be safe to go into Gears Of War topics on forums and I wont have to see the same “I can’t wait until Gears comes to PlayStation” comment over and over again. Gears Of War is secured for all time with the Xbox brand. That is the way it should be for many reasons, but the main reason is that Gears Of War was the most prominent reason to buy an Xbox 360 last generation. I’m not equating the huge success of the Xbox 360 to Gears Of War alone, but I know for a fact that I didn’t decide to buy one until I saw Gears being played on it.
I don’t think many of us knew just how successful Gears Of War games were for Epic Games and Microsoft. Selling over 22 million games and bringing in over 1 billion dollars. That is a mind blowing number for an exclusive series to pull off. There was actually a cloud of wonder over what would happen to the Gears franchise in the future. Rumors of the series making the jump to multiplatform releases in the future. The biggest rumor at the PlayStation 4 launch event was that they would announce a Gears Of War Trilogy HD remake for the console. Personally I knew the franchise would stay exclusive as long as Microsoft wanted it to be one.
The surprises didn’t end there though, the huge news that former Epic Games bigwig Rod Fergusson was hired by Microsoft to head up the team for new developer Black Tusk Studios. As a long time Gears Of War fan I knew right away who Rod Fergusson was. He was just as important as Cliffy B was to the Gears Of War development. In fact he was one of the more outspoken and helpful members of the Gears development team. He was the one who would set up the Gears Of War Events and things like that. So I definitely think a lot of people had the same excitement as I did when they heard that news. Rod Fergusson bleeds Gears Of War. His Twitter handle was GearsViking even when he left Epic Games and joined Irrational Studios to help get Bioshock Infinite out the door. I’m hugely confident Microsoft got the right guy to front Gears Of War games in the future.
Microsoft obviously heard the call of fans who wanted more Gears on the Xbox One. The number one thing I would see on my Twitter feed the most was people asking Phil Spencer for more Gears Of War. I couldn’t be more thrilled or excited. A new Xbox with no Gears just wouldn’t seem right and I know I’m not alone in that thought.
I think we’ll definitely see some sort of expanded universe with Gears Of War, I know there is deep lore and a lot of the novels and things like that. One of the best things about the Halo franchise is the rich history and the large amount of stories that are told in that universe. It rivals Star Wars in a lot of ways, and I think Gears Of War is the same way. It’s much more than just a video game. I wouldn’t doubt that we’ll see a Gears Of War series down the line. And as long as they kept it true to the games and the universe, fans would probably love to see it.
It wouldn’t be a huge Microsoft announcement without some people coming up with something negative to say about the deal. Black Tusk Studios was a studio that Microsoft built up to be rather large, and we all saw the tech demo, or CGI demo of some kind of game or idea that the studio was supposed to be working on this past E3. The studio itself has been working on games for over a year. When Microsoft announced that Black Tusk Studios would be handling Gears Of War some people took it to mean that we’d never see the new IP we were promised from the studio. Now there are several things that could happen from this.
~Black Tusk is a large developer and was said to be working concurrently on 4 new IP’s, so even with having added Gears Of War to their stable they are still large enough to work on multiple project~
~Phil Spencer could have wanted to keep the secrecy behind the game we all saw at the past E3 in order to surprise people at the upcoming E3. If we all think the game isn’t coming or being worked on anymore, the bigger the surprise if they have something to show off~
~The worst case scenario is that the game simply wasn’t up to par, which would be a shame because Microsoft had poured a lot of money into the studio and they were staffed with a lot of talent, including former Rockstar developers~
At the end of the day I don’t believe Microsoft will just wast almost two years of development, I suspect there are enough people at Black Tusk Studios to work on multiple games and Phil Spencer was just playing things close to the chest. Just like when he stated he thought Gears ran its course. I’m sure this deal to buy the franchise was probably in the works for at least a few months. It’s part of the business to try and keep things private, and I believe if it weren’t for the fact that the license transfer would have been public, they wouldn’t have said anything at all until the game was ready to show off. They’d much rather it be a surprise, but another huge announcement just helps with the positive momentum Microsoft has been gathering lately.
To sum up what I think, I believe this was an amazing move on Microsoft’s part. It’s something they clearly did for the fans. Even if you aren’t a Gears or Microsoft fan you can imagine how happy the fans of the franchise are today. Much like I’d suspect Sony fans would be if they ever decided to buy Crash Bandicoot from Activision. We’ll see more games in the series, and I’m excited to see what Unreal Engine 4 can push out on the Xbox One. I’m sure we’ll see merchandise, toys and most likely a web series or television series down the line.
The Gears Of War franchise is home now. I think this is a really great day to be a gamer, and this was an incredibly gamer friendly move by Microsoft.