Back in this year’s E3, Microsoft took the opportunity to announce that they had acquired five game studios: Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice), Playground Games (the Forza Horizon games), Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Undead Labs (the State of Decay series), and The Initiative (thus far no games to their credit, but it’s headed by Darrell Gallagher, former head of Crystal Dynamics). The theory behind the acquisition and the announcement was obvious: Microsoft was going to push harder into the games industry and create more high-quality console exclusives to compete with Sony and Nintendo.
So far, those efforts haven’t born fruit (Sea of Thieves isn’t much competition for Spider-Man), and of the five studios they’ve acquired, only one has any real clout, Ninja Theory. But that’s looking to change: because according to Kotaku, Microsoft has nearly finalized the acquisition of the RPG giant Obsidian, AKA, “the new Bioware”.
The news comes from a trusted source who told Kotaku that they heard it was “90% finished”, and at this point, it’s a matter of “when, not if”.
If true, this would be a big deal for Microsoft and Obsidian both. Obsidian really put its name on the map with Knights of the Old Republic 2, but it’s also been responsible for critical hits such as Fallout: New Vegas and the always-praised Pillars of Eternity, and Microsoft could really use the kind of high-profile games these folks are known to produce. Obsidian, on the other hand, which has always been restricted by shallow pockets, could really benefit from having Microsoft’s huge wallet bankrolling their projects.
The two companies, of course, have not commented – it would border on illegal to comment on in-progress deals – but it seems likely. And if it comes to pass, the next couple of years could be very, very good for Xbox fans round the world.
But, as always, we’ll have to wait and see.