Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has recently spoken out why he feels that the Gears of War franchise was essentially a current-gen series and needs some work before it crosses over to the Xbox One.
The Gears of War franchise has always been synonymous with Xbox, and with Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox One right around the corner, the series has been noticeably absent on the console’s exclusive game roster.
In the most recent episode of IGN‘s Podcast Unlocked, Spencer discussed his feelings on the franchise’s possible next-gen future. The Gears saga has been a solid companion thus far, but Phil Spencer feels that the series “ran its course on the Xbox 360”, and that it’d need to be re-imagined before it could find a place on the Xbox One:
“I want to find a great Gears game. I thought we did a good job with Judgment, but I don’t think it hit the level of quality we saw in the previous games.
I think review scores showed that. Sales showed that. I really think we need to take a step back with Epic and think about… I don’t want to call it a reboot because I think it’s an overused term but think about where that franchise goes and how to expand what it was.“
Gears of War: Judgment received an average score of 79 on aggregate scoring site Metacritic, whereas the former titles, from the original up to GoW 3, never fell below an average score of 87.
Spencer continued to reveal that Epic Games is current busy with a new project, and that although Gears is pretty much on the back burner right now, he couldn’t see anyone else tackling the continuation of the series:
“I’d love to have that conversation. I do talk to the Epic guys often. They’re also busy right now. I think they’ve said Gears is kind of on the back burner for them. So I think it would be a situation where the opportunity came up at the right time it’d be great to sit down with them.
“They’re again the right team to work on that game. Trying to find another team to do that game I think is possible, but I think you’d want to make sure you did that very carefully along with them to make sure we had the right thing in place.“
In regards to the changes Epic would need to make with Gears of War to make it a better fit for the Xbox One, Spencer offers a few suggestions like expanding the in-game universe and taking it into a new direction:
“I think that franchise would need to be… not be reworked but think about how to expand that universe and what people are doing. Maybe make it more gritty, I don’t know. You’d want to do something with it, because I think it ran its course on 360.
“And it was a great success on the 360, but it doesn’t quite have the story arc of a thing like Halo or something, at least the way it’s played out in the games.”
Essentially Spencer’s sentiments fall in line with many devout Gearheads out there who believe yearly sequels can often water-down the franchise and at times even run it into the ground altogether. It will be interesting to see if–and how–Epic Games re-shapes that iconic universe to align with the Xbox One while maintaining the franchise’s integrity throughout.
In any case, like all good things, the series has to come to an end sometime, but for the time being Gears is on a next-gen hiatus.