Yesterday Microsoft announced that it had bought the Gears of War franchise and that its wholly-owned developer Black Tusk Studios had been put to task working on it. So what's happened to Black Tusk's previous project?

Microsoft has had big plans for the studio for some time: Black Tusk was revealed in late 2012 to be toiling away on a new franchise that Microsoft hoped would be "the next Halo".

The only public sighting of Black Tusk's work came via a brief CG trailer at E3 2013. It showed a masked man rappelling down the side of a skyscraper at night and booting a guard in the back of the head. The figure then loaded and fired a futuristic-looking gun.

Last summer, Microsoft's official @XboxJobs account described the game thus: "Their first project is a highly ambitious, all-original new IP!".

The same account has now confirmed that the status of that project is now up in the air.

"@BlackTuskStudio has been working on an all original IP since its inception, we've just brought the GOW franchise into our portfolio and have not yet determined the future of the new IP at this point," the account wrote.

But in an interview with GamesIndustry International, Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer claimed that the project was "a concept piece".

"I wouldn't say things have been shelved," he argued. "Obviously, [Gears] will become a big focus of the studio and something that will be critical to them driving forward. There's not really something that was on the road map that all of a sudden goes away.

"This obviously isn't something that started yesterday in terms of our discussions with Epic," Spencer continued. "Hanno [Lemke, Black Tusk boss] has been involved for quite a while, so he's known that this is something we could land. And the leadership team there obviously knew as they started to build their road map for what they would be focused on."

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and all the stealth Destiny articles.

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