Black Tusk Studios, Formerly Microsoft Vancouver, Working On Next Big Xbox Franchise

343 Industries proved that Microsoft’s Halo franchise is still alive and kicking when it released Halo 4, and now it looks like something new — and “big” — is in the works for Xbox. And no, it isn’t another Halo or Gears of War game.

Late last week, Microsoft revealed to the Vancouver Sun (via Joystiq) that its Microsoft Vancouver studio has been renamed to Black Tusk Studios and that the re-branded studio is already being put to work on, as they put it, “Microsoft’s next big entertainment franchise.”

Mike Crump, studio manager at Black Tusk Studios, told the publication that the staff has an average of 12 years worth of experience working on AAA titles — the video game equivalent of a “blockbuster” — and that the studio is focused on “big games, big teams, big budgets, long timelines.”

“What that means is we are working on Microsoft’s next big entertainment franchise,” Crump 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.”

The project has already started, Crump later told the publication, and Microsoft has given Black Tusk Studios the go-ahead to proceed with development.

“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,” Crump explained.

Given that we’re right at the end of the life cycle for current-generation consoles, whatever Black Tusk Studios’ project is will likely be reserved for Microsoft’s next console.

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