Microsoft has announced that it will be doubling its game development studios as 52 games were showcased on stage, including 18 console launch exclusives and 15 world premieres, at E3 2018.
Xbox fans experienced a dry season last year when most exclusive games released were for the Playstation. It seems that won’t be the case for long, as Microsoft has put some serious investment behind game development and a focus on creating original content.
A diverse lineup of games were showcased for every type of player, from exclusives like Forza Horizon 4, Halo Infinite and Gears 5, and independent titles like Session, Below, Ashen and Tunic to some of the biggest blockbuster games coming in the next year like Fallout 76, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Kingdom Hearts 3, Devil May Cry 5, Battlefield V, Metro Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, many enhanced to take advantage of the power of Xbox One X.
“There has never been a more exciting time to be part of the gaming industry, with creators large and small showcasing incredible new games for the more than two billion players around the world,” said Phil Spencer, head of Gaming at Microsoft. “At Microsoft, we are committed to empowering gamers to play the games they want, with the people they want, where they want.”
However, Xbox fans should be especially pleased by the fact that Microsoft is doubling its game development studios by adding five new creative teams to the Microsoft Studios family, including the formation of a brand-new studio, The Initiative, the acquisition of Playground Games, and letters of intent to acquire Ninja Theory, Undead Labs and Compulsion Games.
The Initiative. Based in Santa Monica, Calif., The Initiative is a brand-new Microsoft game development studio headed by industry veteran Darrell Gallagher that is working to create new worlds, characters and game experiences.
Playground Games. Microsoft has acquired U.K.-based Playground Games, a development partner since 2010 that has helped grow the Forza franchise. In addition to its work on this year’s Forza Horizon 4, Playground Games will have a team dedicated to bringing their open-world know-how to an entirely new project.
Ninja Theory. The relationship between Ninja Theory and Microsoft started in 2000 when Kung Fu Chaos was in development for the original Xbox and culminated in the release of Hellblade on Xbox One earlier this year. Microsoft’s intent to acquire Ninja Theory should provide the resources for the creative team to bring more ambitious games like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice to fans.
Undead Labs. Seattle-based Undead Labs is the creator of the popular State of Decay franchise. By entering into a letter of intent to acquire Undead Labs, Microsoft is signalling its commitment to growing the franchise and building on the zombie survival-fantasy genre.
Compulsion Games. As We Happy Few nears its full, multiplatform release on Aug. 10, Microsoft has entered into a letter of intent to acquire Montreal-based Compulsion Games. By joining the team at Microsoft Studios, the plan is for Compulsion to have the resources to take bigger creative risks and create more ambitious worlds with its future projects.
“The original games we create at Microsoft Studios are some of our biggest assets,” said Matt Booty, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. “Our growth strategy is to continue to expand the worlds that players love while developing all-new exclusive games that deepen their engagement with our platform. We are thrilled to welcome five new studios into the Microsoft family. We believe these teams have the collective creative power and operational excellence to deliver the next industry game changers.”
The addition of these creative teams is a signal of intent towards Microsoft’s commitment to gaming and original content.
Fans can also look forward to a portfolio of games such as new Gears of War titles — Gears 5, Gears Tactics, Gears Pop! — along with Battletoads, Forza Horizon 4 and Halo Infinite, a Master Chief story and the next major release in the franchise built from the ground up on the new Slipspace engine.