Epic Games had planned on letting the Gears of War franchise just sit on the shelf for a decade or more before Microsoft bought the rights.
“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,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney told Polygon at GDC. “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,” he explained. “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.”
Luckily for Gears fans, Microsoft decided to step in and purchase the IP, saving it from a dusty shelf somewhere in Epic’s offices. Black Tusk Studios were put in charge of the franchise following the acquisition, but don;t expect anything out of the developer until at least 2015.
“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,” Sweeney added. “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.”