Back in 2014, Microsoft acquired the Gears of War franchise from the series’ original developer, Epic Games. As a part of the deal, Microsoft’s first-party studio Black Tusk took over control for the series. Black Tusk’s new shooter IP was cancelled, and the studio changed its name to The Coalition. Now, the studio has opened up on cancelling their IP in order to take control of Gears of War.
Speaking to Polygon, Studio Manager Mike Crump says that Microsoft gave the studio a choice: either continue with their new IP, or take over Gears of War. The team decided to go with the legendary franchise, but it was not an easy choice. Crump states: “You don’t spend a year and a half working on a game without getting attached to it. There was a lot of discussion.”
The project that The Coalition was working on was meant to be an innovative shooter. Microsoft hailed the project to be “the next Halo,” with high-caliber staff working on it.
Crump continues: “I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some people on the team who were disappointed when they found out the thing they’d been working on for so long was going to be shelved”
“If you’ve been in the game industry long enough, you’re going to go through project cancellations. People go through this period of mourning a bit. You have to give them that space and time to go through that, the sense of loss that people have around something they’re invested in.”
The team did make a decision. “We went around the table and everybody was in favor of going for Gears of War.”
In June, Black Tusk rebranded itself to The Coalition, and announced its first two projects: Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, and Gears of War 4. The Ultimate Edition launches on August 25th for Xbox One, with a PC version coming at a later date. Gears of War 4 will release on the Xbox One sometime in 2016.