Microsoft Buys ‘Gears of War’ Franchise, Hands Reins to Vancouver Game Studio

A Vancouver-based game development studio has taken the reins of the popular “Gears of War” after Microsoft acquired the game franchise from Epic Games.

Microsoft bought the franchise, an Xbox exclusive with four games under its belt since 2006, and handed future development over to Black Tusk Studios. Financial terms have not been disclosed, but with 22 million units of the first-person shooter sold so far, the deal was likely sizeable, as Gears of War earned Epic more than a billion dollars over the past eight years.

Microsoft Studios launched Black Tusk in 2012 with the intention of building Triple A Games. The launch came just months after Radical Entertainment and Rockstar Games both shuttered their Vancouver digs.

“We are talking big budget, big team, long development timeline and very, very big projects that take a number of years to get through,” studio manager Mike Crump said at the time. The studio is located in Vancouver’s trendy and upscale Yaletown neighbourhood on the corner of Robson and Cambie. Black Tusk currently employees more than 100 people.

“Some of the world’s biggest game franchises were created here and that is not going to change going forward,” Crumpe said in 2012.