[Update] Gears Of War And Rod Fergusson Now At Microsoft
Update: 2K Games has responded to our request for comment on the departure of Rod Fergusson. Fergusson was hired on to cultivate a new studio for 2K Games.
"We can confirm that Rod Fergusson is no longer with 2K," a 2K representative told us via email. "Any projects the new studio is working on are unaffected by his departure. We wish Rod the best of luck in his future endeavors."
Microsoft has acquired the rights to existing and future Gears of War titles from Epic Games. Along with the transfer comes a new hire that is no stranger to Microsoft and the Series.
Rod Fergusson, whose early career was spent at Microsoft and who served as executive producer and director of production at Epic Games left in August 2012 to join Irrational Games. There, he saw BioShock Infinite through to completion before leaving the studio.
In September 2013, it was announced that Fergusson would be heading up a new studio at 2K Games. We’ve reached out to 2K to understand how his departure impacts that publisher.
According to statements provided to Polygon, Vancouver studio Black Tusk will be heading up development, with Fergusson playing a “key studio leadership role.” Microsoft tells the outlet that it isn’t ready to discuss the future of the Gears of War series quite yet, but that announcements will be coming this year.
As for Epic, the studio will be focusing on new projects. “Epic remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to Microsoft in support of their future projects,” CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement.
Microsoft Studios vice president Phil Spencer tells Polygon that that the trailer Black Tusk created for E3 2013 was a “concept piece” and not an in-development game. The demo was created in Unreal Engine, but it was not planned despite the already ongoing conversations between Epic and Microsoft.
The Gears of War series still has life left in it. The trilogy matured over the Xbox 360’s life cycle, and even though Judgment was a departure, the fan base is clamoring for more. A Gears title on Xbox One wasn’t hard to imagine, and these shifts position the franchise well.