Microsoft has purchased the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games. This purchase includes the rights to the existing Gears of War games as well as the rights to any future games.

Microsoft have also announced that the new, Vancouver-based Black Tusk Studios will take over development of the franchise, whilst Rod Fergusson – formerly the Director of Production at Epic who then worked on Bioshock Infinite – will join Microsoft and Black Tusk in a key role to oversee the new direction of the franchise.

This move effectively ensures that the Gears of War franchise will remain an Xbox exclusive, with more information on the next game being withheld until ‘later this year’, presumably at this year’s June E3.

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Microsoft have rebuffed the rumour that Black Tusk’s game preview from last year’s E3, a stealthy action game, was part of an ‘in-development game’, instead merely calling it a ‘concept piece’.

It seems as though that despite being no longer involved in the development of Gears of War, Epic will licence Unreal Engine 4 to Microsoft for their future projects, most likely including any new Gears of War games.

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