Two of the industry's most promising RPG crafters are joining Microsoft Studios.
The first is inXile Entertainment, known recently for Torment: Tides of Numenera and Wasteland 2 on Xbox. The second is Obsidian Entertainment, recently renowned for Fallout New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and the Pillars of Eternity series. The announcements were made today at X018, adding to Microsoft's growing list of first-party studios.
inXile Entertainment is currently working on Wasteland 3, and recently launched The Bard's Tale IV dungeon crawler on PC. Wasteland is perhaps the big story for Microsoft Studios here, an IP which went on to heavily inspire the Fallout franchise, which InXile founder Brian Fargo helped shape. Obsidian just shipped Pillars of Eternity II on PC, and is currently working on bringing the acclaimed RPG to Xbox One (opens in new tab) and other platforms.
Wasteland 3 ditches the deserts of the previous games for apocalyptic, wintry climbs.
Microsoft Studios head Matt Booty noted to us in a statement that inXile will retain autonomy to create whatever it chooses, and that the studio will continue to deliver great RPG experiences in the future. The same holds true for Obsidian Entertainment, and despite the common heritage both studios share, they will remain free to choose their own creative destiny.
Microsoft also discussed the intent to acquire Obsidian Entertainment, emphasizing the desire to preserve the studio's culture and to maximize their potential.
Pillars of Eternity is a dark, tactical RPG with classic gameplay.
inXile head Brian Fargo has enjoyed an illustrious career producing quality RPGs that put choice and consequence at the forefront. Torment: Tides of Numenera and Wasteland 2 both feature turn-based, tactical combat, and so too does Wasteland 3, where your dialogue choices can heavily influence the outcome of the story. Obsidian shares a common ancestry with inXile, across studios like Black Isle and Interplay, with heavy RPG leanings. Obsidian's Fallout New Vegas is arguably the best in the series, delivering a memorable branching narrative that far outstripped Bethesda's own sequel, Fallout 4.
The acquisitions plug a bit of a gap in Microsoft's core lineup, which has lacked strong RPG chops for many years. With Microsoft's tech and financing, inXile and Obsidian should be able to find new heights with their respective games, which have recently been funded primarily via Kickstarter.
Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
Honestly, with how huge gaming already is, and how it's only going to grow more, and now with Google trying to get into the streaming game and Apple making weird comments about how it's tablets are as powerful as Xbox consoles, Microsoft should not stop acquiring studios anytime soon. Whichever one of these streaming companies can deliver the best performance but also the best original content will win. Microsoft is in the best position to do that.
On Nov 3rd, 2016 they raised $3,121,716 via Fig crowd funding and after over 2yrs all they have for Wasteland 3 is a year old canned demo to show (see above) for it. Let us hope that with Microsoft they can actually make the Q4 2019 launch date. They seem to keep working on other projects like Wasteland 2 for Switch and Bards Tale and no updates for Wasteland 3. On the plus side, it is stuff like this that keeps me from contributing to any crowd funding for video games.
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