"We're Looking To Build The Next Halo"
Black Tusk Studios, a new outfit formed from the rebranded Microsoft Vancouver, plans to create the "next big entertainment franchise" for the Xbox platform.
A new (and slightly menacing) website reveals Black Tusk's mission statement: "creating immersive, AAA games that push the limits of Microsoft’s entertainment platforms. Located in downtown Vancouver, Canada, we are part of the Microsoft Studios family, and we are growing." Apparently they'll be working closely with the likes of 343 Industries, Turn 10, Rare and Lionhead, among others.
Studio manager Mike Crump helped to fill in the gaps in an interview with the Vancouver Sun, and came out swinging.
“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."
“We have been officially green-lit by Microsoft executives to go ahead with the project that we’re on. That’s the way game development works — it’s just like making a movie, you go through pitching and concepting and then at some point you have a very large meeting with the executive team and present your full pitch with the business plan and you get the green light, so that’s happened for us.”
So what will the 'next big franchise' be? Net sleuth Superannuation believes that it's a "big new IP space shooter thing on the scale of a Gears or Halo," while Eurogamer have spotted a job wanted ad mentioning "experience with multiplayer and/or co-op gameplay development."
Interesting times. It's great to see Microsoft investing heavily in first party studios after years of relying on timed exclusives and the odd heavy hitter, but they've got some seriously big shoes to fill.