Xbox has a lot of talented studios under their studio branch. From 343 who is making the highly ambitious Halo Infinite, to Playground Games known for Forza Horizon and now Fable, to “AAAA” studio The Initiative. Xbox has a lot of heavy hitters who are aiming to make huge games for the Xbox ecosystem. Obsidian Entertainment, purchased by Microsoft in late 2018, may end up being the most important studio out of the group.
Obsidian Entertainment is best known for games like Knights of the Old Republic, Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds, and more. They have been making critically acclaimed RPG’s for years with a variety of scopes and budgets. When Xbox acquired them 2 years ago, Obsidian had just come off of games like Pillars of Eternity and Sky Forge. The studio was seen as a studio that could add a nice variety to Xbox’s portfolio.
Two years later, after the release of the critically acclaimed The Outer Worlds, Steam best seller Grounded, and recently announced AAA fantasy RPG Avowed, Xbox might have made an even better deal than previously thought. Obsidian has always been a talented studio, but with the stability and resources Xbox provides they have the opportunity to create even better games than they already have.
The one thing that has always plagued Obsidian is a lack of resources. Fallout: New Vegas was famously made in under 2 years and lacked the necessary resources to avoid the lack of polish that game had. While The Outer Worlds is a very good game, it had budget and scope issues and had a few glaring issues especially toward the end game.
Now that Obsidian has been acquired by Xbox and will have the exact resources they need, Obsidian is free to create games only limited by their ambition. The newly released Grounded, made by only a few dozen people at Obsidian, is a unique take on a survival game. It is essentially Honey I Shrunk The Kids meets a survival simulation game, and it is charming, incredibly polished, and a lot of fun.
Obsidian is also working on DLC for The Outer Worlds, and what we have seen so far looks to be a continuation of the great narrative and world of the original game. There will undoubtedly be a sequel to the game, and with more resources under Xbox, the game will likely have much larger scope and avoid the pitfalls of the original game.
The biggest game of all is recently announced Avowed. Avowed is set in Obsidian’s own Pillars of Eternity universe, and has been rumored for years to be Obsidian’s take on a Skyrim like. It is an incredibly exciting pitch and the game will likely be a massive success based on the pitch alone.
Having a studio in Obsidian who have a pedigree of making incredible RPGs as an Xbox owned studio bodes well for the Xbox ecosystem. The only limit Obsidian has had has been budget and scope. Under Xbox, those limits are gone. With continued investment as an Xbox Games Studio, Obsidian may be primed to dominate the next decade and further cement themselves as one of the best RPG studios in the world. More importantly for Xbox, they may even claim the title as the most important team in the Xbox Games Studios family.