You know that feeling when someone you like or respect receives a piece of good news, and you simultaneously feel happy for them but with a touch of shameful resentment? That’s how I feel about Xbox’s acquisition of Zenimax Media for how huge series such as, but not limited to, The Elder Scrolls and Dishonored are now 99% likely to be entirely Xbox exclusive going forward.
I’ll level with you, I had no intention of getting an Xbox Series X or S as I bought an Xbox One in 2013 entirely for the Forza franchises, and arguably only Motorsport 7 and Horizon 3 gave me the experiences I wanted across the whole generation. No other Xbox exclusive game that interested me released between the start and close of the Xbox One cycle and now (though I did buy other games), and I can’t help but feel buying an Xbox One AND an Xbox One X has been a bit of a waste of money. Like losing a bratty child in a divorce my original Xbox One lives with Will now (though we remain happily married) and I don’t mind that I never get a visit from it, the Xbox that is. The 30 seconds of not-gameplay footage we have been shown thus far for the Forza Motorsport reboot did little to capture the imagination, and the fact that the weakest Horizon game was the most recent Forza release, three years ago, has me feeling more than a little let down.
After the yawnfest that has been the Xbox One exclusive line-up, compared with the indisputably better PlayStation 4 offerings, you would think it possible I could be forgiven for washing my hands of Microsoft’s console and that I could walk off into the sunset with my PS4 under one arm, a PS5 under the other and a smile on my face. Not fucking likely as it turns out..
Microsoft had other plans. In their bid to stay relevant, as Gamepass can’t be relied upon to sell consoles and in stark contrast to Sony who have opted to buy and support smaller game development studios, they have decided to fork out 7.5 BILLION DOLLARS on the owners of Bethesda, Arkane and many more. Going forward if I want to continue to play and support some of my favourite ever game franchises, namely Dishonored, I’m going to have to buy a whole new console. History seems determined to repeat itself with the fact I’m going to spend several hundreds of pounds on a machine I’ll barely use when compared to its Japanese counterpart.
I fully understand the need for survival on Microsoft’s part when even PS4 exclusives like Days Gone, a game I completely ignored for years and expected nothing from, ends up taking me dozen hours to finish and grow tired of. Look at abhorrent boring messes like Sunset Overdrive, arguably one of the worst exclusives of the generation, the outrageously lacking in content Forza Motorsport 5 and the woefully underwhelming Halo 5: Guardians. These games serve to highlight the low standards Microsoft have for their releases when, in my opinion, the weakest PlayStation exclusives of the generation were Driveclub and The Last Guardian, and those at least had the courtesy to look pretty when playing.
As an additional point, the recent delay of the remake of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is further evidence that Sony are not content to let a game which is clearly of middling quality hit shelves just because it has brand name recognition, and I wonder if Microsoft would be so quick to pull the next Forza Motorsport should it prove to be as malnourished as Motorsport 5 or skin-deep as Crackdown 3.
I have no faith whatsoever that Microsoft’s acquisition of their parent company will be of any benefit to the developers who have now found themselves in their employ, though never before in my life have I been so willing to be proven wrong.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s purchase of Zenimax Media? Let us know in the comments or on our Twitter @RespawningUK. I’m very interested to find out what your opinions are on this whole affair, and in the meantime I’ve been Alexx, I’ll speak to you soon, and fuck you Microsoft. If you meddle with the future of Dishonored I will take you to the Void myself!!