Rod Fergusson talked to Eurogamer a few days ago about Gears of War 4 development including Microsoft’s involvement with the whole project especially considering The Coalition had just taken charge of the franchise.
Originally known as Black Tusk, The Coalition with Rod Fergusson as its head had been working on another new IP of theirs when Microsoft asked them to take the lead in Gears of War 4 development which was a surprise since the franchise had previously been developed by Epic Games.
Judging by this, it might seem that Microsoft forced the project upon Rod’s studio and it was a big burden on them but it seems like the team managed to pull through after considering the glowing reviews that Gears of War 4 has been getting.
However, it seems as if Microsoft played less of an overlord and more of a helpful guide in this situation and decided not to interfere with any part of the development process.
According to Ryan Cleven, the multiplayer lead on Gears of War 4 development:
There was no central mandate from Microsoft to make this game one way or the other, the development cycles on this game are long, and the in game microtransactions were something that very early on we were interested in.
Ryan’s statements suggest that unlike most publishers who impose microtransactions in their games even when the developers are against them, in the case of Gears of War 4 it was a mutual decision.
While this statements shift the entire blame from Microsoft if the high priced Season Pass and microtransactions end up killing the Gears of War 4 community in the long run, it does put a big target on The Coalition for gamers to blame.
Rod Fergusson mentioned how the development process was more of a discussion between the development team and Microsoft.
They would ask each other whether certain things could be implemented or not and if it was possible and developers felt like doing it, they would include it in the game, ultimately making the game a product which the developers had envisioned all along.