Microsoft buys Gears of War rights, moving production to Vancouver's Black Tusk Studios

Microsoft is moving production of its superstar shooter Gears of War to Vancouver-based Black Tusk Studios and has bought all existing and future rights to the franchise from its creator, Epic Games.

The game has been produced between Microsoft and Epic for 10 years and has sold 22 million copies on the Xbox for a gross of $1 billion (CBC).

Black Tusk was opened in Vancouver in June, 2012.

"The Gears of War franchise has a very strong, passionate and valued fan base on Xbox," Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer said on Monday.

"Black Tusk has assembled a world-class team with deep experience and passion for the shooter space, and specifically the Gears of War franchise.

"This franchise, and these fans, are part of the soul of Xbox. By acquiring this franchise, Microsoft Studios will continue to offer them more of their favourite games and entertainment experiences from the Gears of War universe."

Today's announcement means the game could now be available exclusively on its new system, the Xbox One, although no release date or title was given for any such upcoming game.

"It's a smart move on Microsoft's part for a simple reason; they are generally behind in the exclusives department, and couldn't bear to lose one of their core series like Gears of War if Epic was indeed lured by Sony to expand the franchise to Sony's PS4," wrote Forbes magazine's Paul Tassi.

Tassi also notes that Gears of War is the Xbox's second-most important and powerful franchise, behind Halo.

"That said, the series, like Halo, is going to have to prove it has what it takes to stay relevant in the ever-changing video game landscape."

The series has also been know, over its time, for its popular trailers:

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