Microsoft has been on a studio-buying mission for three years, picking up Obsidian and Ninja Theory. Besides Activision Blizzard, the biggest of them all has been Bethesda, the studio behind Fallout, Skyrim, and the upcoming intergalactic RPG Starfield.
Studio head Todd Howard admits he feels the "pressure" to make his sci-fi RPG a "platform seller" for Microsoft's Xbox Series X and honestly, after all these acquisitions, studios Microsoft need to start releasing some compelling console exclusives.
"We've never been the kind of platform seller, you know, 'play' for one platform for a while, so there's a lot of pressure. [and] there's a lot of responsibility there to make sure we deliver on everyone,” Howard said on the Lex Fridman (opens in a new tab) podcast (via VGC (opens in a new tab)).
To add to the pressure, the deliberately solitary Starfield won't be releasing on Sony consoles, but Todd Howard says "that's in no way abnormal."
"Keep in mind that for us this exclusive is not unique, even though we've done some PlayStation stuff, and I think the PS5 is just a crazy machine," Howard said. Adding that the studio primarily produces PC games, only recently focusing on Xbox following Microsoft's €7.5 billion purchase of Bethesda.
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)
The exclusivity kicks in when a formerly multi-platform studio stops releasing its games for all consoles, and the Nintendo Switch and PS5 are no strangers to exclusives. This year alone, Sony released three of its own in God of War Ragnarok, The Last Of Us, and Horizon Forbidden West.
While we reported on the many Microsoft acquisitions in recent years, the lack of a great Xbox Series X | S and games that show what this generation of consoles can do has been conspicuously absent.
With stock shortages preventing anyone from getting their hands on the PS5 and Xbox Series X, and a focus on Game Pass that opens up a unique library of games for gamers on PC and older Xbox consoles, the lack of new games wasn't too much. big. problem until recently.
However, there has been a change. This Black Friday, while the PS5 was still out of stock, there were plenty of Xboxes in stock. A bargain on Xbox Series S made it one of the best deals of the long weekend, and now every new Xbox owner will want something special to justify their purchase.
Can Starfield, with its sandbox world of over 100 solar systems and space combat sequences, deliver on its promise?