Xbox's Phil Spencer is 'all in' if Activision studios want to revisit old franchises

Phil Spencer sitting on a yellow couch with a green and blue Xbox background behind him.
(Image credit: Official Xbox Podcast)

What you need to know

  • Phil Spencer joined the Official Xbox Podcast today to discuss the Activision Blizzard acquisition.
  • Host Jeff Rubenstein asked if Spencer would dip into Activision's catalog of IPs to revive popular franchises.
  • Spencer replied that he doesn't have a plan in place to force any studio to revive an IP, but that he would be "all in" if teams wanted to go back and revisit a franchise.

Sorry, Hexen fans, Phil Spencer has confirmed there is not a plan in place to revive the beloved shooter—yet. Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, sat down with the official Xbox podcast to discuss the Activision Blizzard acquisition and to address rumors that have been floating around since the deal closed this past Friday.

Xbox Podcast host Jeff Rubenstein, who took over podcasting duties for Xbox after Larry Hyrb retired earlier this year, took the opportunity during the show to bring up Activision Blizzard's impressive catalog of beloved franchises. Following a segment where Phil Spencer spoke about not using Call of Duty to force players to Xbox, Rubenstein asked Spencer if he would bring back Guitar Hero or Tony Hawk Pro Skater.  

If teams want to go back and revisit some of the things that we have —and do a full focus on it— I'm going to be all in.

Phil Spencer, CEO Microsoft Gaming

With regard to Infinity Ward, Spencer said, "I just don't think that a team working on something that isn't their passion leads to the best result." However, when it comes to games like Hexen, which many fans speculated would see a revival after Spencer appeared wearing a Hexen t-shirt on a showcase stage, Spencer stated there was no plan in place to revive it. However, he also added that Xbox would be "all in" on a revival if it was a project that a dev team would like to revisit on their own.

Spencer also added that Xbox has not been the best at utilizing all of their historic franchises. While there would need to be consideration whether reviving an IP was warranted, Spencer said he believed Xbox Game Pass could be the key to allowing a couple of franchises per year to be revisited.

I'm not giving up on a Viva Piñata revival

You all can have your dreams of Crash Bandicoots and your Hexens, I'll be sitting over here pining for a Viva Piñata revival. It is significant that Phil Spencer acknowledged Xbox's subpar history with recognizing classic franchises in its own catalog. 

It is a relief, at the same time, to hear him say he would not require studios to work on an IP just for the sake of a revival. As nice as it is to have nostalgia for classic characters, it is equally important that developers have the opportunity to flex their creativity and create new experiences. Games like HiFi Rush and Pentiment show what a studio can be capable of given the security and support to create what they want.

Cole Martin

Cole is the resident Call of Duty know-it-all and indie game enthusiast for Windows Central. She's a lifelong artist with two decades of experience in digital painting, and she will happily talk your ear off about budget pen displays.