Back at the beginning of 2014, Microsoft announced that it had acquired the Gears of War series from Epic Games. As a part of this purchase, Microsoft’s first-party studio Black Tusk took over control of the series, effectively canceling Black Tusk’s new shooter IP which had been teased at E3 2013. Black Tusk is now The Coalition, and in a new interview, members of The Coalition discussed how that transition to Gears of War came about.
Speaking to Polygon, Studio Manager Mike Crump said that Microsoft gave the developer a choice: either continue with the new IP, or take over Gears of War and make the next game in the storied series. Ultimately, the team members made the choice of going with Gears of War. But that didn’t mean it was an easy decision. “We were hugely invested in what we were working on,” he said. “You don’t spend a year and a half working on a game without getting attached to it. There was a lot of discussion.”
He continued: “I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some people on the team who were disappointed when they found out the thing they’d been working on for so long was going to be shelved. If you’ve been in the game industry long enough, you’re going to go through project cancellations. People go through this period of mourning a bit. You have to give them that space and time to go through that, the sense of loss that people have around something they’re invested in.”
Ultimately, however, the team reached consensus. “We went around the table and everybody was in favor of going for Gears of War,” he explained.
The project that The Coalition was working before it took over Gears was supposed to be a big, innovative shooter. In fact, Microsoft had positioned the project to be “the next Halo,” and the studio was hiring high-caliber staff to work on it.
In early June, the studio rebranded itself as The Coalition and soon after announced its first two projects: a Gears of War remaster, called the Ultimate Edition, and Gears of War 4. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition launches on August 25 for Xbox One, and on an unknown date for PC.
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Author: Alex Newhouse
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