Gears of War faces murky future Epic sale

Microsoft recently bought the rights to Gears of War from Epic Games. The change of hands means that Epic Games is now relieved of development duties for the franchise as Microsoft hands the reins over to the fledgling Black Tusk Studios.

Epic clearly wants to move on to other creative ventures. Cliff Bleszinski left his post as Epic’s design director in 2012 after 20 years citing the need for a break from making games.

The nomadic Rod Fergusson, who served as the series producer, also left Epic in 2012. Both men were instrumental in creating one of the most popular Microsoft exclusive franchises for the Xbox 360.

 

 

With Gears of War off of its hands, that leaves “Fortnite” as its only known game currently in development. That doesn’t mean Epic is getting out of the video game business. It is still the proprietor of the Unreal Engine. “Fortnite” is expected to be the first Epic game to utilize Unreal Engine 4. Epic could sit back and license its engine to developers until the end of time if it wanted. Why not sell off “Gears of War” if it’s creatively bankrupt with the series?

Microsoft ponied up for the series and hired former “Gears” producer Rod Fergusson to oversee the franchise at Black Tusk Studios. Microsoft showed a tech demo put together by Black Tusk Studios last year at E3. Many speculated it would be a new intellectual property for the Xbox One. Instead, it got some rather large shoes to fill with a series that effectively ended at “Gears of War 3.”

“Gears of War: Judgment,” while not a bad game, certainly didn’t live up to the standards set by the core trilogy. The next Gears of War game must feature Marcus Fenix.

The only option for Black Tusk if they want to maintain the “Gears of War” spirit is to reboot the whole thing. That would be a huge risk, but there doesn’t seem to be much else left for them to do without playing around in the past. We know how Gears of War ends. Take the core story elements — the Locust Horde, the COG, and Marcus Fenix’s Delta Squad — and combine them with the core gameplay elements — the Roadie Run, chainsaw Lancers, Horde Mode, and multiplayer — and mix it all up into an all new Gears of War adventure.

There’s one thing out of all of this that I’ve come to realize — I miss having Gears of War in my gaming life since it ended.

You can reach the reporter at michael.jerome.martin@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @NefariousMike