Fergusson wrote on Twitter on Wednesday: “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.”
He added: “I began working on Gears of War over 15 years ago and since then, it has been the joy of my life. But now it’s time for a new adventure. I leave Gears in the great hands of The Coalition and can’t wait for everyone to play Gears Tactics on April 28.”
In an interview with GI.biz, Xbox games studios boss Matt Booty said: “Rod is certainly someone who has had a tremendous impact on the franchise overall, going back to the original Gears. We are really grateful for the craft and just his passion, and also just what he has done to build that community. We wish him well as he moves on.”
Fergusson was previously director of production at Epic Games, where he oversaw development of the entire Gears of War franchise, as well as Bulletstorm and Infinity Blade.
The producer is seen as something of a safe pair of hands in games production, having previously been brought in by 2K to finish development of BioShock Infinite.
He will now be tasked with seeing through the development of Diablo 4 in a turbulent time for its creator Blizzard, which has attracted criticism for Warcraft 3’s Reforged version and the recent Hong Kong scandal.
Veteran Xbox executive Mike Ybarra joined Blizzard as executive vice president and general manager in October 2019.