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Netflix takes charge of Gears of War movie project

An animated series is also in the works

an aged, battle-scarred Marcus Fenix, original hero of the Gears of War franchise, as he appears in 2019’s Gears 5 Image: The Coalition/Xbox Game Studios
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Fifteen years into the effort to adapt Gears of War into a popcorn-movie blockbuster, Netflix has now picked up the torch. Netflix will be developing both a feature-length film and an “adult” animated series, the streaming giant said on Monday.

Netflix is now the rights-holder after “long months of negotiations” with many competitors, The Hollywood Reporter reported. Netflix will partner with Gears’ developer, The Coalition, on getting the movie and cartoons onto the screen. THR said no filmmakers, directors, writers, or other stars are so far attached to any of the adaptations.

“The video game franchise [is] getting a fresh start after several big-studio attempts,” THR said, which is putting it mildly. Since at least 2007, Gears of War has been batted about as a no-brainer action-movie adaptation, with studios and distributors like New Line Cinema and Universal Pictures; writers like Billy Ray (The Hunger Games) and Stuart Beattie (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra); and directors like Len Wiseman (Total Recall 2012) all involved at some point. The moviemaking effort has straddled Gears’ eras under original publisher Epic Games and Xbox Game Studios, which acquired Gears of War in 2014 and handed off it to The Coalition.

As THR points out, this latest news comes on the 16th anniversary of Gears of War’s launch on Xbox 360 — Nov. 7, 2006. Last week, series creator Cliff Bleszinski sat for an interview with IGN, in which he said Epic, his former employer, “didn’t really know what to do with the franchise,” after he, producer Rod Fergusson, and gameplay designer Lee Perry left the company.

That said, Bleszinski said the income Epic realized from Gears’ sale — and it had always been exclusive to Xbox/Games for Windows Live — probably helped Epic into its latest phase, as the publisher and developer of breakout battle royale hit Fortnite and the owner of the Epic Games Store.

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