Saturday Morning Gaming: Microsoft has purchased Obsidian and inXile

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Microsoft has purchased Obsidian and inXile.

I don’t even know how to process this.

Obsidian is the studio that made Pillars of Eternity. They made Alpha Protocol. They made Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Jeez Louise, they made Fallout: New Vegas.

I mean, I would recommend each of those. Pillars of Eternity to someone who loved Neverwinter Nights. Alpha Protocol to someone who loves the Mission Impossible movies and has a good sense of humor when it comes to bugs. KotOR2 for anybody who loved the first one and anybody who loves Star Wars.

And Fallout: New Vegas is one of those games that is so good that it has me recommend another game first. Dude. You need to play Fallout 3. Play Fallout 3 and beat it and feel good about it. And then realize that Fallout 3 is the Tutorial for The Best Game Ever. You just had a 40, 50, 60, 70 hour tutorial to play Fallout: New Vegas.

InXile Entertainment is another company that makes me feel weird rumblings of hope. I’m sure you remember the disappointment of The Bard’s Tale when it came out for PS2… but remember hearing about Wasteland 2 and then it, amazingly, lived up to the hype? Like, it *FELT* like an actual and for real sequel to a game from 1988? (Dude, I played this game back in 1988 on my Apple IIe.)

And then Torment: Tides of Numenera *FELT* like a sequel to the original Planescape: Torment.

Sequels to games that belong on the Top Ten Games Of All Time list that felt like the games that appear on that list?

And now the companies that made those games have been purchased by Microsoft? And Microsoft bought them because they feel like the PS4 has been kicking them in the butt with PS4 exclusives like (deep breath):
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Ratchet and Clank
The Last Guardian
Uncharted 4
Nioh
God Of War
Spider-Man

Man. That’s a lot of butt-kicking exclusives.

So let’s say that you want to take that on. What’s the first thing you notice when you look at that? That’s right: NOSE IN THE AIR SNOBBERY. So if you wanted to steal the nose-in-the-air snobs, the best way to do that is to grab the companies that the people who have been screaming at Todd Howard have been mentioning in their screamings.

Oh, people have been screaming at Todd Howard that they needed to hire the people who made Fallout: New Vegas? Let’s buy those guys. Oh, people have been screaming at Todd Howard that they needed to hire the people who made Wasteland 2? Let’s buy those guys as well.

There are two ways to look at this. The first is to say “welp, these guys are now as dead as if EA had bought them… man… remember Bioware? Good times.”

But the second is to say “maybe Microsoft is serious about wanting people to buy the Xbox One X and the inevitable One X sequel. Remember how Cuphead was an exclusive? Maybe they want RPGs. Maybe they want RPGs that are as good as being RPGs as Cuphead was at being a run-and-gun shooter.”

And then I get chills.

Keep your fingers crossed. We might soon have a reason to buy an Xbox. Again.

So… what are you playing?

(Image is “borg assimilation” from U.S. Army Europe. The photo itself, though not necessarily any implied or associated trademarks captured by the photo, is in the public domain. Did you know all US government photos are in the public domain, copyright-wise, unless created as a work for hire / under contract by someone who didn’t assent to that? So go forth and re-use you some photos.)


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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19 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Gaming: Microsoft has purchased Obsidian and inXile

  1. Microsoft also purchased Bullfrog and Lionhead.

    > Man. That’s a lot of butt-kicking exclusives.

    Also Sony’s trying to make up for the PS3 having nogaems

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    • Bullfrog wasn’t purchased by Microsoft. It was purchased by EA.

      It was Lionhead that was purchased by Microsoft. And, yeah, it was Microsoft’s demands that Lionhead create “GAMES AS A SERVICE!” games that was the main driving force behind Lionhead’s demise.

      I guess the question is whether Xbox has learned anything from the Windows 8 debacle, from the E3 2013 debacle, and from the current PS4 vs. Xbox debacle.

      I know the smart money isn’t on “maybe Microsoft learned something!” but, surely, someone who knew that Obsidian was a smart buy knew that Obsidian was a smart buy because of the games it was capable of making rather than because of the titles they could milk for cycle before shutting the studio down like they did with Lionhead…

      (Of course, EA is somehow still in business…)

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        • I understand why they thought “hey, we could make a lot of money doing a re-skinned mobile game and putting the Diablo Brand on it.”

          Sure, maybe it wouldn’t be so hot in the US, but Asia is the target audience for that one and I’m sure that it will make a mint without having to sell a single unit stateside.

          I don’t understand why they chose the US to make that particular announcement. I don’t understand why they made a big deal out of that particular announcement. I don’t understand why they decided to withhold the Diablo 4 teaser trailer. I don’t understand why they didn’t freak out halfway through Q&A and send texts back to HQ saying “SEND US THE DIABLO 4 TEASER RIGHT FREAKING NOW”. I don’t understand why they thought that the most invested fans they had expressing their disappointment needed pushback rather than reflection on their own part.

          I don’t understand why they didn’t have a plan for if things went wrong.

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            • Fallout 76 has inched up to a score of 2.9 on Metacritic (for PC… Xbox has it at 2.4 and PlayStation has it at 2.7).

              That’s the result of the so-called “review bombs”, though. The “real” critics seem to have an average of 6.2 (based on three ratings so far… for PC, anyway).

              I won’t be getting it.

              It disappoints me because I *LOVE* the Fallout Universe and seeing what has happened with the evolution from Fallout 3 (It’s back!) to Fallout New Vegas (It’s better than ever!) to Fallout 4 (It’s Boston! I guess! They took the RP away from my RPG!) to… 76?

              Well. We still have Cyberpunk 2077.

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              • > They took the RP away from my RPG!

                “I need to you murder that synth bastard for 50 caps. Make it 100 caps if you bring its head.”

                A – Yes!
                B – Mnyeah… okay.
                C – Sure.
                D – I’m not gonna like it, but I’m gonna like your caps.

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                • How much better would it have been to do something like this?

                  “If you want the combo to that impregnable safe I sold you, I need to you to get the macguffin from that synth. I’ll throw in 100 caps if you bring its head too.”

                  A. I’ll get you the macguffin, but the synth lives.
                  B. Make it 150 for the head and you’ve got a deal.
                  C. I’ll get you the macguffin. (lie)
                  D. I’m not a high enough level yet. I’ll come back later.

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      • “(Of course, EA is somehow still in business…)”

        EA is in business because however many of millions of people complain about microtransactions or the latest RPG they think has been dumbed down for casuals, there’s far many more people willing to buy Madden or FIFA, then plow plenty of money into the Ultimate Team mode and make EA gobs and gobs of money.

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        • To use a wrestling analogy, since Jay just did a piece on that for politics, the “vocal males” can constantly trash the product all day long, but it’s the family friendly kid merch, ad buys, and subscriptions that pay the bills. Hardcore gamers vocal, but are a much smaller slice of the business model than casual fans.

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  2. I think missed some important things about Fallout: New Vegas (hence FNV).

    For instance, it’s a CRPG with real-time first-person combat. I tend to dislike FPS combat in RPGs, and real-time combat in RPGs, and FNV has a pretty lousy implementation of this kind of system to boot. It’s generally kind of dull, the weapons aren’t very interesting, and the whole thing feels kind of sluggish.

    On top of that, the graphics were a bit dated when it came out, and have not really held up. A lot of the areas are really small, due to the need to fit everything into the memory of a last-gen console, and there are some pretty irksome loadtimes even on PC. On top of that, its bugs have bugs.

    What does all the technical issues and dubious gameplay add up to?

    Only the best freaking CRPG of all time. A game full of interesting, funny, compelling, sympathetic, or loathesome NPCs, which is remarkably well-prepared for you to ally with, or kill, just about any of them. You are still a bit limited in terms of what you can actually do (talk, buy/sell stuff, fight) but it’s still something of a high-water mark for the genre. And the side quests are great, and while they include a few fetch quests and “go to this dungeon and kill this dude” quests, there are also murder mysteries, political negotiations, even a puzzle or two.

    Really, it’s available cheap, and there’s a huge ecosystem of mods available.

    Also, it comes with four DLC chapters. While the final one was, IMO, muddled and disappointing, the first three are gold. Especially the one that sticks you in a ’50s mad scientist movie.

    Sony has shown that console producers can do a fantastic job managing acquired studios, and MS now seems to be a somewhat less confuckerated company than they were even 5 years ago. So I’m approaching this with cautious optimism.

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    • I’d play any game as long as the gameplay is good. Graphics and tech be damned.

      Case in point: NetHack.

      The only shiny and chrome I want in my life is when I go to Valhalla. While I’m on Earth, I’d rather have fun.

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    • Steam has “the ultimate version” for $20. (If you are hesitant and only want the bare-bones version, it’s $10.)

      It goes on 50% off sale semi-regularly and we’re about a week away from Steam Black Friday and you can probably count on it hitting 60% off or 75% off.

      It’s worth $20, though. Hell, it was worth $60 when I bought it and I bought a season pass and I *STILL* consider it to have been a bargain for what I got and how many times I played through it.

      The number one review on Steam right now says: “The worst thing about this game is that there will never be another Fallout like it.”

      Darn straight.

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  3. Fallout: Agree Jay..

    FNV was awesome. Liked the add ons too. Fallout 4 was fun and the amount of time I spent on it..i got my $ worth.

    I'[m done with online games…won’t be playing 76

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    • I loved Fallout 3 and 4–for some reason, I never played FNV; I’m such a fanboy for the open world RPG’s I’m still not sure why I didn’t play it. I think it was the stories about serious bug and then I waited, etc. I just looked to see what else was released that year, and I shudder to think I was playing Black ops, but I was. I’m pretty burned out on FPS’s; I have neither the time, nor the desire to play enough to be mediocrely competitive. I feel a bit of shame that I missed that one–as Fallout and Elder Scrolls are my jam.

      Avoiding 76–The choice that open worlds gives a player is limited once other people are included.

      And once the semester is over, I’m getting Red Dead 2.

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  4. I bought dying light for 50% off and have been playing it. Then maybe Dishonored. That will carry me to the new year/1q19.

    Maybe then I’ll go back and play witcher 1, 2, and 3 again. Still waiting for System Shock and Half LIfe 3

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  5. As for what I’ve been playing, I got Yakuza Kiwami, which is one of the PS Plus games this month.

    It was definitely worth the free download.

    I mean it’s better than that, if you like quirky games, and I tend to really like quirky games.

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