Previously believed to be a studio dedicated entirely to the Gears of War series, The Coalition is working on an entirely new IP.
Known as the steward of the Gears of War franchise, The Coalition has released two games in just five years. Now, thanks to a listing on Canadian-based StoryLab Productions’ website, we know the developer is hard at work on another, outside the Gears of War IP.
StoryLab Production’s work involves performance motion capture for games and other media. They’ve worked with The Coalition on previous installments in the Gears of War franchise, so it’s unsurprising to see the two working together again.
What IP The Coalition is working on is obviously still a mystery, but that hasn’t stopped speculation and rumors from whirling around the net. Before becoming a Gears of War centric studio, The Coalition was known as Black Tusk. Little was known about the studio, but the team did release a tech demo or proof of concept trailer in 2013 many now refer to as “Shanghai Heist” or “Shangheist”. When Gears of War co-creator Rod Ferguson returned to Microsoft after a brief stint helping Irrational Games wrap production on Bioshock Infinite, he was put in charge of Black Tusk. In short order, the studio began maintaining the Gears of War franchise that Microsoft purchased from Epic Games, and the “Shanghai Heist” or “Shangheist” idea was shelved.
Since The Coalition just finished its year of support for Gears of War 4 back in October, it’s believable that the studio could be well underway on its next project. Whether the Coalition is taking on a new project by itself or with another development studio is unknown, but one insider on ResetEra who leaked Microsoft and Xbox information in the past suggests The Coalition next project isn’t a solo venture. He goes as far as suggesting the IP the Coalition is working on could be no other than the next installment in the long-since shelved Perfect Dark franchise. The insider phrases these leaks in a silly, cryptic way, but his track record is still pretty reliable. Still, take his comment below with a healthy dose of salt.
Although it’s unclear how many members of the staff were involved, at least some staff at The Coalition helped in the development of the Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) console port. While Microsoft and Bluehole worked internally on getting the game up and running on Xbox hardware, The Coalition worked to optimize controller support for the game. Now that PUBG has hit digital and retail shelves in Xbox Game Preview, it’s likely The Coalition’s role on the project has largely sunset, and the staff as a whole may be ready for what’s next.
Either way, with just 5 months until E3, it’s likely we’ll hear more about what The Coalition, and the rest of Microsoft’s first party, is up to relatively soon.