UPDATE: Black Tusk, the newly-formed Vancouver-based Microsoft first-party studio, is focusing on the Xbox 360, according to The Vancouver Sun.
Staff have an average of 12 years experience in triple-A games, the industry's equivalent of Hollywood summer blockbuster movies - “big games, big teams, big budgets, long timelines,” said studio boss Michael Crump, formerly of EA.
“What that means is we are working on Microsoft's next big entertainment franchise,” he said. “We're not working on an existing franchise, we're looking to build the next Halo here in Vancouver, for example, which is really exciting. We are building something from the ground up.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Microsoft has renamed its Vancouver, Canada developer as Black Tusk Studios and set it to work on a new Xbox exclusive IP.
The Microsoft Studios company is working on “AAA games that push the limits of Microsoft's entertainment platforms”, according to its recently re-launched website.
“Do you want to help define Microsoft's next big entertainment franchise?” it asks. “Let's talk.”
So what is this mystery new franchise?
There's a job ad for a senior gameplay engineer, which mentions a “AAA console game”. One of the requirements is “experience with multiplayer and/or co-op gameplay development”
According to internet super sleuth Superannuation, “Apparently it is some big new IP space shooter thing on the scale of a Gears or Halo. Lead designer of Crysis 2 is working on it.”
Another job ad, for a senior AI engineer, calls the mystery project a "AAA core game".
Being a first-party studio means Black Tusk can leverage resources, technology and experience from the likes of Halo 4 developer 343, Forza developer Turn 10, Kinect Sports developer Rare and Fable maker Lionhead.