If Xbox Game Studios didn’t have ZeniMax Media, 2023 wouldn’t be strong after last year’s weak offerings, which Microsoft admitted to being bad.
Although the Redmond tech giant announced in September 2020 that it had acquired Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion, the deal was closed in 2021. The publisher’s hands were tied, as two of their then PlayStation console-exclusive games, Ghostwire: Tokyo and Deathloop, had already been announced. This year marks the beginning of the end of Bethesda’s games on PlayStation 5. The 2023 Xbox lineup looks like Bethesda will carry it, and Xbox boss Phil Spencer admitted as much in an interview with IGN.
“Redfall and Starfield are crucial games. Every first-party game that we’re building is. In terms of the growth of Game Pass, it’s been steady. And as we’re adding new games and sequels to games, we see continued growth. Sometimes, the growth is in games that we expected, and then every so often a Vampire Survivors or now a Hi-Fi Rush comes along and creates its own excitement. Sometimes you can predict the games that will drive excitement, and sometimes you get surprised. And I like that about our industry — that great games can come from many different places.
For us, we closed the ZeniMax acquisition a couple of years ago, seeing that Bethesda, ZeniMax being the parent company, is shipping a Hi-Fi Rush, shipping Redfall, has the Elder Scrolls Online update, shipping Starfield…that these games are coming this year. And we’ve started the year off with our first launch into Xbox and PC, Game Pass. I’m just really encouraged by the strength that Bethesda’s going to show in our portfolio, and we’re starting to see it already in 2023, and that’s exciting,” Spencer said.
Coming this year are Redfall (Arkane), Starfield (Bethesda Game Studios), the surprise release this week of Hi-Fi Rush (Tango Gameworks), and there are the now-quiet studios. 2019 saw the release of Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Wolfenstein: Cyberblood and they’re almost certainly working on Wolfenstein III, while their Indiana Jones game is slowly making progress; Roundhouse Studios, founded in late 2019, hasn’t said anything about what it’s doing; id Software is almost three years since it released DOOM Eternals, and ZeniMax Online Studios has been working on a new IP for about five years…
So Spencer is optimistic for a reason.