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Epic planned to 'leave Gears of War sitting on a shelf for 10 years'

Studio founder explains the decision to sell the IP to Microsoft

The founder of Epic Games has said the company agreed to sell Microsoft the Gears of War IP because it didn't want to make any more games in the series.

Speaking to Polygon, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney explained that the studio didn't see Gears of War as a franchise that would feature in its future.

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"We've gone through a long process of figuring out the games we're going to build at Epic worldwide in the future and we concluded that we weren't going to be building any more Gears of War," he said. "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."

In light of this, Sweeney said Microsoft's acquisition of Gears of War was a win-win-win solution for Epic, the Xbox maker and the gaming community.

"It was one of those rare moments when both Epic and Microsoft were able to make a business 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," he added. "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 realized the world wanted more Gears of War."

Epic is currently working on Fortnite, its long-awaited PC exclusive co-op sandbox survival game. Earlier this week, Epic's engine GM Ray Davis said it was "a tremendous amount of fun to playtest".

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