Microsoft’s studio in Vancouver has a new name. They’ve been officially renamed as Black Tusk Studios and are recruiting for a big new project. Despite never having released anything just yet – they’ve been a support studio until now – it’s an incredibly experienced team of people with “an average of” 12 years per member working on big games.
Mike Crump, the studio’s head, told the Vancouver Sun that they were trying to make “the next Halo” and that their game would be “Microsoft’s next big entertainment franchise.” Those are big claims to make, especially with the Halo franchise still laying golden eggs for Microsoft.
This big, as yet unnamed, project is a shot in the arm for the Vancouver game development scene. The city lost around 35 games-related jobs earlier this year when Microsoft axed its Flight development team and halted production of “Project Columbia”, believed to be a Kinect-enabled virtual storybook. At the time, Microsoft’s statement on the matter indicated that they would try to find new roles for the staff affected.
It was rumoured last year that Microsoft’s Vancouver team was engaged with a shooter for Kinect, aimed at the hardcore fan base. There’s no mention of Kinect in the Vancouver Sun story that announces the name change but job listings from those earlier rumours and the mention of Black Tusk’s project being for the Xbox 360 rather than its much anticipated next gen successor might indicate that this project is a continuation of that earlier one.