The people behind Fallout: New Veags and Pillars of Eternity will now be making games fo Xbox.
This doesn’t come out as much of a surprise as Obsidian Entertainment has been on a something of a downswing as of late. While nobody will claim that they don’t make fantastic games, they unfortunately rarely succeed in making enough of a splash to let the studio grow (there’s a social commentary to be made here, but I’ll refrain).
Matt Booty, the vice president of Microsoft Studios and a man with the best surname in the industry, said that the acquisition comes as a result of Microsoft’s intention of “delivering content for new platforms and services like Xbox Game Pass, and creating exclusive games that turn players into loyal Xbox fans”. Which makes sense, Xbox still has some running to do if they wanna catch up to Sony in the games-on-demand department. Having dedicated studios working on that stuff is just an optimal solution.
As for what games they’ll be making now, we can’t say. Their forte is RPGs, though how well that translates into console gaming is a matter of discussion (historically pretty poorly, but I can’t help but feel like this is a case of a lack of trying really). Note also that before the acquisition, Chris Avellone left the studio. This is just one confirmed departure, but we know that the team is short of at least one writing head, so it’s not the exact same team as you knew.
In the same breath, Microsoft also acquired InXile, the developer behind Torment: Tides of Numenera, the Cypher RPG-inspired spiritual successor to Planescape Torment, so in other words: another oldschool RPG. Which is more interesting and surprising and makes me ask all sorts of questions regarding Microsoft’s direction going forward. Xbox as a dedicated RPG console? Maybe. InXile had their own announcement to make:
Notably, earlier this year Microsoft acquired Ninja Theory, people behind the award-winning Hellblade. One has to wonder if this is a part of a bigger brand strategy or them just flexing. As always, time will tell.