The guy who directed the video sequences in the Gears of War games at developer Epic is back working on the franchise at Microsoft.
Greg M. Mitchell has left Epic Games, according to a post on Twitter. He revealed that he is joining the new Microsoft team Black Tusk Studio, which is making the next Gears of War game. Mitchell held the title of director of cinematics and video at Epic, and he’ll likely do something similar at Black Tusk. Gears of War is one of Microsoft’s biggest exclusive franchises, and it is building up its team to ensure that fans welcome the first entry in the series on Xbox One.
— Greg M. Mitchell (@MediaSig) April 20, 2015
In January 2014, Microsoft made a deal with Epic to fully acquire the rights to Gears of War. This gives the Xbox company complete control over the franchise going forward, and Microsoft immediately brought on former Gears of War director Rod Fergusson to oversee the project. Fergusson also runs the Black Tusk studio, which Microsoft formed in Vancouver specifically to make the new Gears of War.
This is a similar model that Microsoft used with Halo, where the company started its developer 343 Industries to take over the reins on that property after the original developer, Bungie, gained its independence from Microsoft.
By bringing back both Fergusson and Mitchell, Microsoft is clearly trying to keep Gears of War’s core in place. And it obviously would want that, as the previous games were among the best-selling releases on the Xbox 360.
“The Gears of War franchise has a very strong, passionate, and valued fan base,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in a statement in 2014. “Over 22 million units have been sold across all Gears of War titles worldwide, grossing over $1 billion. 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 favorite games and entertainment experiences from the Gears of War universe.”