'Gears 5' Studio Head Departs Company to Oversee 'Diablo' Franchise at Blizzard

Gears 5 with inset of Rod Fergusson - Microsoft Publicity -H 02019
Courtesy of Microsoft

Rod Fergusson will exit The Coalition in March.

Rod Fergusson, head of Gears of War game studio The Coalition, is heading to Blizzard to oversee production of the Diablo franchise.

"Starting in March, I will join Blizzard to oversee the Diablo franchise," Fergusson tweeted Wednesday afternoon. "Leaving is bittersweet as I love our Gears family, the fans, and everyone at The Coalition and Xbox. Thank you, it has been an honor and a privilege to work with you all."

Fergusson has been with the Gears franchise since the very beginning, having served as executive producer on the 2006 original and later director of production for the series at Epic Games. Following a departure from Epic in 2012 and a stint at Irrational Games, where he helped oversee the final stages of development on 2013's BioShock Infinite, Fergusson returned to Microsoft (where he began his career in the 1990s) to steer the revival of Gears. The fifth title in the series, Gears 5, launched in September.

Blizzard unveiled Diablo 4, the latest entry in the hack-and-slash action series that has sold nearly 100 million copies since it debuted in 1996, at its BlizzCon event in Anaheim in November. The game currently does not have a release date.

Fergusson's departure from The Coalition and the Gears franchise is somewhat surprising, given comments he made last year to The Hollywood Reporter about this enthusiasm for the series' future. "Not only are we trying to bring it back, we want to grow and flourish," he said. "We gave ourselves a ramp to launch toward the next one. I don’t know how to make a game bigger than Gears 5."

Gears 5, an exclusive Xbox One title, received mostly positive reviews from critics, but failed to generate the sales that The Coalition and Microsoft were expecting.