Things just got a bit more interesting for users who are waiting to get their hands on the next edition in the Gears of War shooter franchise. Microsoft has announced that it’s purchased the rights to the entire franchise and leaving it in the hands of one of its Canada-based game development studios.

The announcement came yesterday in a post on Xbox Wire. Essentially, Microsoft has purchased the intellectual rights for the franchise so that it can continue to make Gears of War titles without Epic Games, who seems to have decided to move on to another project. Of course, neither company is actually discussing the details involved. As such, we don’t yet know how much Microsoft paid for right to make new titles on its own.

What we do know is that Microsoft is already in the early planning stages of another Gears of War game. Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer confirmed that it’ll hand off the property to Black Tusk, a fairly new internal video game studio in Vancouver, Canada. Unfortunately, it appears Microsoft won’t share anymore about their plans until “later this year.”

That Microsoft would want to bring the development of Gears of War into their internal organization makes sense. Though Epic Games developed the Gears of War titles, Microsoft always acted as the franchise’s publisher. If the company was going to make moves to bolster its line-up of internally developed titles, it makes sense that it would start with the titles it’s already had a heavy hand in. It also doesn’t hurt that the franchise has earned $1 billion in related sales to date.

Epic Games’ Rod Fergusson will move to Canada to manage the franchise from within Black Tusk Studios.

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