The Coalition studio head, Rod FergussonSource: Microsoft

What you need to know

  • Rod Fergusson, studio head for Gears of War caretaker, The Coalition, has announced plans to depart Microsoft.
  • Fergusson joins Blizzard Entertainment next month, overseeing the Diablo franchise.

The Coalition head, Rod Fergusson, has announced plans to depart Microsoft, and moving onto a role within Activision Blizzard. Overseeing Xbox Game Studios' dedicated Gears of War developer for half a decade, Fergusson will soon shift focus to the Diablo franchise.

His departure follows heading The Coalition since inception, migrating away from Black Tusk Studios branding and shipping three Gears of War titles. While debuting the remastered Gears of War: Ultimate Edition in 2015, Fergusson watched over the four and fifth mainline entries. It comes as Microsoft prepares to release Gears Tactics in April, shifting away from its shooter roots into turn-based strategy.

Fergusson announced the move on Twitter, detailing plans to join the Diablo team in March.

Fergusson started his career at Microsoft, shifting to Epic Games in 2005, aiding in the development of the original Gears of War trilogy. His return to Microsoft followed its acquisition of Gears of War, since delivering two mainline titles, and now solidified among the staples of the modern Xbox lineup. While scheduled to depart in March, a new studio head is yet to be confirmed. It follows former Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Gaming, Mike Ybarra, who joined Blizzard Entertainment in late 2019, following 20 years at Redmond.

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Microsoft is scheduled to ship Gears Tactics on April 28, 2020, headed to Xbox Game Pass for PC, and Steam. Its tactical squad gameplay essentially fuzes the world of Gears of War with XCOM, primarily developed Splash Damage, with support from the Vancouver-based developer. That follows the launch of Gears 5, which while initially launching to praise, has struggled to retain a long-term following.