It is not difficult to say that during the current videogame generation Xbox it was a step back (maybe even a couple) a Sony on the market. Starting from the number of consoles sold up to the quantity of exclusives published, it certainly cannot be said that the two companies acted on a par. However, the future is uncertain and some good news are currently in sight as regards the next generation, which will undoubtedly be more seasoned as regards the presence of the Xbox Game Studios.
Let's talk about the current studies held by the Xbox division, which has now been made almost independent by Microsoft. Over the past few years Phil Spencer in fact, he worked to acquire several new software houses, and managed to communicate their presence in the best possible way during the various conferences. We are not talking about studios that will necessarily produce exclusive titles for Xbox and PC, but in any case of companies currently well-funded and with a giant behind them.
Furthermore, at least according to the current premises, we can perhaps guarantee that all the games developed by these software houses will be included as early as day one - or even earlier if you think about the recent case. Gears 5 - in the service of Xbox Game Pass, which Xbox is betting on pretty much everything. Furthermore, all of these studios will certainly publish on the current Xbox One family consoles and on the already announced Xbox Series X, as well as probably for the most part also on the PC market. We list below, dividing them by seniority and deepening them properly, all 15 studios owned by the Xbox division, which can then be grouped under the name of Xbox Game Studios.
Xbox Game Studios Publishing
Well ... how can we not start from the progenitor of this very interesting initiative - which is already starting to bear its very first fruits. We are talking about a real studio dedicated exclusively to the research and management of all the others. It might seem at first glance an uninteresting maneuver, however it is certainly not the case. After all, supporting all Xbox Game Studios, financing and managing them, is not easy, and a whole team is absolutely necessary to organize this activity in the best way.
If you think that in some cases peculiarities can be transmitted between development environments, such as excellence on the technical side or a strong knowledge of the huge field that concerns artificial intelligence, it is necessary to be able to count on a dad who knows how to administer. and make their creatures communicate better. This specific division of Xbox is based in Redmond, just like Microsoft itself on the other hand, and even if it does not develop video games it is fundamental for the policies currently undertaken by Xbox.
However, we do not currently know what Xbox Game Studios Publishing is working on specifically. It could simply be the aforementioned administration, as well as the search for new talents to acquire and bring into vogue with their own means. Despite currently Microsoft products have passed Sony as a number of First Party, it is certainly not certain that the company intends to stop in this regard. To dominate the next generation it may be necessary to increase even more its range of internal studies, so as to avoid a gradual impoverishment of the offer linked to the Xbox Game Pass. Obviously, among other things, a good number of exclusives must be favored. If these were not sufficient to satisfy the public interest in proprietary systems - just as happened at the beginning of the current generation - they would perhaps decree the end of the entire Xbox division, which is not strictly fundamental for Microsoft and could therefore be in the near future closed.
Rare is arguably the oldest development studio within Microsoft. This software house was born in 1985 as a branch of Ultimate Play the Game and began a partnership with Nintendo, settling in Twycross. Over the years Rare has created many successful IPs such as Killer Instinct, Donkey Kong e Banjo Kazooie. Become part of the Xbox Game Studios as the first member in 2002, following the acquisition of Microsoft for 375 million dollars.
Currently the software house continues to develop the most successful Game as a Service for Microsoft: Sea of Thieves. Although the pirate adventure has now been out for almost two years, new updates continue to arrive at a fixed rate, which makes the work essential for the Xbox Game Pass service. The subscription is in fact renewed by a slice of users just in conjunction with some important updates for Sea of Thieves. Rare is also committed to the development of Everwild, a still rather mysterious title announced during theX019.
Founded in 2002 with headquarters in Cambridge, Ninja Theory has managed over time to churn out several successful works, even if we are not talking about dozens of titles as it was for the case of Rare. Among the most important we find without doubt Heavenly Sword e DMC: Devil May Cry, but the game that has managed to make this software house more famous is Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. After the release of the latter in 2017 Ninja Theory joined the Xbox Game Studios, already in 2018.
Currently Ninja Theory is at work on Bleeding Edge, a multiplayer title that should arrive on the current generation for PC and Xbox One. However over the The Game Awards 2019 a sequel to Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice has been officially announced, let's talk about Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2. The trailer showed the muscles that the new one Xbox Series X should present as early as day one, with a trailer made through the game engine.
Double Fine Productions
Double Fine Productions was born in 2000 with headquarters in San Francisco, founded by Tim Schafer after the split of LucasArts. The most important initial projects of this software house were Psychonauts e Brütal Legend, but the company has produced a lot of products over the past 20 years. We cannot forget, for example, the remastered of Day of the Tentacle e Grim Fandango, which have brought to current generations works that are difficult to recover on consoles.
Just before the conclusion of bike, interesting project published by Bandai Namco, in 2019 Double Fine Productions joined Xbox Game Studios. The team is currently working on Psychonauts 2, direct sequel to the chapter released in 2005. The title carries a lot of weight and will have to be able to satisfy the community that loved the work that initially landed on Xbox and Playstation 2.
Turn 10 studios
Turn 10 studios was born in 2001 under the wing of Microsoft as a participant in Xbox Game Studios. This software house was created from the beginning with a single purpose, to produce exclusives related to racing games - initially for the Xbox and then also for the PC world. Until now, the developers have only dealt with the series of Forza Motorsport, which, however, has seen many chapters from its own, as many as 7 plus the spin-off Forza Street for mobile. The team is currently working on a new chapter of the brand that will probably be announced over the next few months.
InXile Entertainment was founded in 2002 with headquarters in Newport Beach, in California. He immediately specializes in role-playing games with turn-based combat and in 2004 he publishes the currently very famous Bard's Tale. He has to do over the years with some minor works, up to 2014 in which he gives life to Wasteland 2. Nowadays the software house is engaged in the creation of Wasteland 3, which should come out in 2020 according to the current premises. In the midst of the development of this latest title InXile Entertainment has joined the Xbox Game Studios.
The story behind the current Obsidian Entertainment is to be found behind the name of Black Isle Studio. Let's talk about the software house that created the series of Fallout and its first two chapters, but which went bankrupt in 2003. In the same year Obsidian Entertainment was born from the ashes of the latter, with most of his staff simply having to move from studio to studio while remaining in Irvine, California.
Let's talk about the author of the role-playing games Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Neverwinter Nights 2, Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth and Pillars of Eternity 1 and 2. During 2018, while he was struggling with the very recent The Outer Worlds, Obsidian Entertainment has joined Xbox Game Studios. Currently the software house is engaged in the development of the cooperative survival Grounded, of which there is unfortunately not much yet.
343 Industries takes its name from the character of Halo Guilty Spark. Born in 2007 based in Redmond the studio has dealt almost exclusively with this series. However, this was created at the time by Bungie - which is currently working on Destiny 2 after closing the collaboration with Activision. Starting from a remake of the first chapter, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, 343 Industries continued with the development of the series from the fourth canonical episode.
Currently the software house is working on Halo Infinite, a title that should arrive towards the end of this year on Xbox One and Xbox Series X, as well as probably on PC. Let's talk about the video game with the highest budget ever invested and the premises are anything but negative, we'll see!
Founded in 2009 with headquarters in Stockholm thanks to Markus Persson, Better known as Notch, Mojang is the software house behind the huge Sandbox phenomenon Minecraft. The title has evolved a lot in recent years, especially after the arrival of Mojang in Xbox Game Studios dated 2014. Several famous developers have curated this title, among which we can certainly mention Dinnerbone e Jeb. The game is far from close to its conclusion but the team has recently opened the doors to other projects.
Let's talk about, for example Minecraft Earth, title in AR for mobile, but also of the upcoming Minecraft Dungeons which should arrive in 2020. The software house has also curated several other projects, many of which ended up in the Humble Bundle service, but also published Cobalt. A ray traced version of Minecraft is currently in development, as announced in August 2019 by NVidia, but a launch window is not yet known.
Compulsion Games was born in 2009 with headquarters in Montreal, thanks to the former developer of Arkane Studios Guillaume Provost. The software house has worked for several titles outside its own productions, including Darksiders. The team dealt personally with only two works, namely the very special adventure Contrast and the fascinating procedural title We Happy Few, arrived in 2018 after a very troubled development. Just during the making of the latter, Compulsion Games became part of the Xbox Game Studios, as Microsoft officially announced at E3 2018.
Undead Labs was born in 2009 with headquarters in Seattle and carries on the idea of bringing new zombie-themed titles to the market, just as its name recalls. On balance, the company has in fact only developed survival horror until today State of Decay 1 and 2, which were not particular successes even if they were rather loved by a narrow niche of users. During E3 2018 Microsoft announced that it had officially acquired Undead Labs in its Xbox Game Studios roster.
The Coalition was born in 2010 in Vancouver already under the wing of the Xbox Game Studios, and after having had several names manages to consolidate the latter in 2015. In the same year the software house is dedicated to the development of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, thus bringing one of the three works of epic Games in remastered PC version. Continuing with Gears of War 4 and in 2016 Gears 5 in 2019 this development study has always shown itself as Microsoft's technical jewel.
We are talking about a software house master of optimization and graphic creation, which we hope can give support to other studios under the same wing that do not particularly excel in this particular field. Currently The Coalition is not officially engaged in the development of further projects, but continues to constantly support Gears 5, which has also recovered in its competitive multiplayer guise after a rather troubled day one.
Playground Games was founded in 2010 with headquarters in Leamington Spa and is fully dedicated to the development of exclusive Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Let's talk about the series Forza Horizon, which recently saw the third and fourth episodes also arrive on PC. In 2018 Microsoft formalized the acquisition of the team, which is nowadays only working on post-launch support for Forza Horizon 4, although a possible new project may already be in development for Xbox Series X.
The Initiative is founded by Darrell Gallagher in the 2018 a St. Monica, already under the wing of Xbox Game Studios. It appears to be a development studio dedicated to major triple A franchises that will arrive on Microsoft platforms. We will likely be able to see The Initiative's current projects once the Xbox Series X makes its debut at the end of this year. It is therefore not clear what the team is currently working on.
The latest studio from Xbox Game Studios is World's Edge, which was founded in 2019. There is currently not much information on the mysterious software house, but we know at least what this is working on. World's Edge was in fact created exclusively to support the various projects of Age of Empires, including the recently announced Age of Empires 4 which made its appearance during last year's X019.