The IP went to Microsoft simply because Gears doesn’t fit with Epic’s current direction.
While the appeal of fat stacks of cash may have enticed Epic Games to sell the Gears of War franchise to Microsoft, the actual reason is far more simple. At GDC 2014, studio head Tim Sweeney says that Epic simply weren’t interested in making any more games in the series.
Speaking to Polygon, Sweeney said that, “It was one of those rare moments when both Epic and Microsoft were able to make a business [decision] that was obviously best for the community. Much better to have Microsoft building Gears games than for it to be sitting on the shelf unused by Epic.
“Selling an IP like that is a rare thing. Most companies look at it as their crown jewels but at Epic we had a practical view of it: We weren’t going to build it and we realised the world wanted more Gears of War.”
Epic’s lack of interest in the series is simply because they have other plans in mind. “As much as we love the game, we’re heading in a new direction.
“The core Gears values are really tied to being big event-based, single-player console games with awesome cover mechanics and other things that really didn’t translate into the future approach we were taking with online games, and competitive and cooperative multiplayer.
“Because we weren’t planning on building any more Gears games we were just going to let that sit on the shelf for a decade or more, in case it had any future value to us.”
Now Gears of War is with Microsoft though and the first Xbox One title in the series will be arriving in the next few years courtesy of Black Tusk Studios and former series producer Rod Fergusson, who now leads the new dev team.