In recent years, Microsoft was criticized for a–perceived or otherwise–lack of exclusive content and compelling games, but those days may be behind the company. In 2018, Microsoft acquired Undead Labs (State of Decay), Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Obsidian (Fallout: New Vegas), Ninja Theory (Hellblade), inXile (Wasteland), and Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), while also creating a brand-new southern California studio in The Initiative.
At E3 2019 this week, Microsoft acquired Brutal Legend and Psychonauts studio Double Fine and created another brand-new studio to focus on developing the Age of Empires franchise. Together with Microsoft’s own Global Publishing studio, Microsoft now has 15 studios under its Xbox Game Studios banner.
It appears Microsoft has now more than enough talent to release new games on a semi-regular basis. Some of Microsoft’s other studios include Halo developer 343 Industries, Gears of War studio The Coalition, and mainline Forza Motorsport team Turn 10. Microsoft also has Sea of Thieves developer Rare and the Minecraft team at Mojang under its catalog of owned studios.
At the Xbox E3 briefing today, Ninja Theory announced its new multiplayer game Bleeding Edge, while Playground showed off the wild new Lego expansion for Forza Horizon 4. 343, meanwhile, showcase a new story trailer for Halo Infinite, while The Coalition revealed more Gears 5 footage. Undead Labs announced a new expansion for State of Decay 2 called Heartland, while the Age of Empires studios announced Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition.
In a blog post, Microsoft confirmed that company veteran Shannon Loftis is heading up the new Age of Empires studio while Microsoft has hired former Warner Bros. veteran Peter Wyse to run the new Global Publishing team.
The only Xbox Game Studio without an announced project is The Initiative, which is a the Santa Monica-based studio that was only just formed last year and is only just getting started on its first title.
Xbox Game Studios Developers
- 343 Industries
- The Coalition
- Compulsion Games
- Double Fine
- Microsoft Studios Global Publishing
- The Initiative
- Ninja Theory
- Playground Games
- Turn 10 Studios
- Undead Labs
- Age of Empires