In its quest to get more major game franchises for its Xbox One console, Microsoft has bought one of the biggest game series that helped boost sales of its previous console, the Xbox 360. Today, the company announced it has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise from its creators, Epic Games.
Today’s announcement, which did not disclose financial terms, gives Microsoft the rights to the past Gears of War games, all of which were console exclusives for the Xbox 360 platform (the original “Gears of War” was also ported to the PC). Microsoft said the series has sold more than 22 million copies and has generated over $1 billion in sales.
Today’s deal also covers any “entertainment experiences and merchandise” based on Gears of War, along with all future game releases. In fact, Microsoft’s Vancouver-based Black Tusk Studios is now at work on a new Gears of War game, presumably for the Xbox One console. Rod Fergusson, who previously worked as director of production at Epic Games on the Gears of War franchise, has joined Microsoft and Black Tusk to help develop the new game, which will use the latest version of Epic’s Unreal Engine. More information on that game will be announced later this year.
As for Epic itself, the only game they have announced is “Fortnite,” and little information has been revealed about that title since it was first shown to the world two years ago. In a statement, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said, “Epic remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to Microsoft in support of their future projects.”