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Former Epic executive producer Rod Fergusson says overseeing the ‘Gears’ franchise will be a “homecoming” for him.

One of the cornerstone games for Microsoft’s Xbox consoles is staying in the family.

Microsoft this morning announced that it’s acquiring “Gears of War” from Epic Games, bringing former Epic executive producer Rod Fergusson on board to oversee the franchise at Microsoft’s Black Tusk Studios in Vancouver, B.C. The move ensures that future installments of the game will be exclusive to Microsoft’s Xbox One.

“Epic remains great partners and good friends of Microsoft Studios,” said Hanno Lemke, general manager of Black Tusk Studios, in a Q&A published by Microsoft this morning. “In fact we will collaborate closely with Epic to ensure the inclusion of the Unreal Engine technology into the “Gears of War” franchise going forward remains consistent with the high quality fans have come to expect from the franchise.”

Fergusson says in the post, “I’ve been privileged to work on a lot of great games with a lot of great teams, but “Gears” has had the most impact on me professionally and personally, so this really feels like a homecoming.”

Phil Spencer, Microsoft Studios vice president, explained some of the backstory in an interview with Polygon.

“We finished the last Gears talking about the next iteration of the franchise, one that Epic and I were going to talk about just as a natural course of the publishing and studio relationship,” he said. “They didn’t have a firm plan for what they wanted to do with Gears, which obviously opened the door to conversation. They wanted to make sure the franchise landed somewhere we could develop it well, so we started having discussions about how we could continue the franchise.”

So what’s next? And when will a new “Gears of War” be available for Xbox One? Microsoft isn’t saying, but the company says more information will be released later this year.

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