Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War series

Microsoft Studios has purchased the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, Microsoft announced. The publisher will take over all existing and future games in the series, and will hand development of future games over to Vancouver, BC developer Black Tusk Studios. Formerly Microsoft Vancouver, Black Tusk was said to be working on a new AAA game for Xbox One as of June 2013.

Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games on the Gears of War franchise, is joining Microsoft and will play a "key studio leadership role" at Black Tusk. The last time we heard from Fergusson he was launching a new studio for 2K in the Bay Area; it would appear that relationship didn't work out.

Each entry in the four-game Gears of War series was published by Microsoft since its introduction in November 2006. The last Epic-developed game in the series was Gears of War: Judgment, which launched in March 2013.

Update: We contacted 2K Games for statement about the status of Fergusson's studio. A company representative told Joystiq, "We can confirm that Rod Fergusson is no longer with 2K. Any projects the new studio is working on are unaffected by his departure. We wish Rod the best of luck in his future endeavors."