Xbox head says “some” Bethesda games will be exclusive to Xbox and PC.
The Microsoft acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, has officially gone through as of March 9th, 2021. Xbox big boss, Phil Spencer, shared his excitement about all the talented Bethesda developers coming under the Xbox banner in a post over on Xbox Wire. Ever since Microsoft announced the industry shaking news last year, fans have been eager to know the details of how Microsoft will handle Bethesda’s games moving forward. Specifically, will all Bethesda games be exclusive to Xbox and PC leaving PlayStation and Switch owners out in the cold? Spencer only partially answered that question by stating that “some” future Bethesda games will be exclusive to Xbox and PC. “With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players“, writes Spencer in the blog post.
Some fans take this as stating the obvious – Sony made a pre-acquisition deal with Bethesda to release Deathloop and Ghostwire Tokyo exclusively on the PS5 for 1 year. Hence, these are the “future” titles Spencer spoke of that won’t be exclusive to Xbox upon release. I don’t believe it’s that simple, however. Phil Spencer has been clear that he wants gaming to be for everybody, and he has an unconventional strategy in mind for the console space. So, while I do believe that many future Bethesda games will be exclusive to Xbox, I also think Microsoft will bring some of those titles to PS5 (and possibly Switch) as well. Here’s how I think Bethesda’s future slate of games will be handled.
Starfield – Xbox/PC Exclusive
Starfield is an original new IP from Bethesda Game Studios, the core Bethesda developers behind The Elder Scrolls and recent Fallout games. Though no release date is known for Starfield, the game was first revealed way back at E3 2018 along with The Elder Scrolls VI. We know The Elder Scrolls is releasing after Starfield, so hopefully we aren’t too far away from experiencing Starfield for ourselves. There are a couple of reasons why I believe Starfield is going to be exclusive to Xbox ecosystems. First, the game is a new IP. There are no existing fans that will be ticked off if a certain console base is left out in the cold. Secondly, it’s the first game post-acquisition that will be released by Bethesda Game Studios and Microsoft will want to flex that Bethesda muscle. They didn’t pony up $7.5 billion just to let these games fall into the hands of the competition, like usual. No, this will be the first major opportunity for Microsoft to leverage their investment and get people signed up to Game Pass in droves.
The Elder Scrolls VI – Coming to PlayStation
The Elder Scrolls is one of gaming’s strongest brands. The most recent Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, has sold north of 30 million copies and Bethesda’s propensity to re-release it has become a meme for crying out loud. The game has a massive reach and fan base. It’s that reason that I think Microsoft will make this game available to PlayStation owners. Todd Howard, creative director at Bethesda Game Studios, was even recently quoted as saying it would be “hard to imagine” the new Elder Scrolls game being restricted to only Microsoft’s platforms. Yes, Microsoft will want to flex some muscle, but they also want to make some money. Adding The Elder Scrolls VI to the PlayStation library would certainly do that. Now, is The Elder Scrolls VI releasing on PS5 day and date with Xbox Series X? Highly doubtful, but Microsoft will want to capitalize on the PlayStation market and also avoid any bad press that would come with TES being Xbox/PC exclusive.
Wolfenstein 3 – Coming to PlayStation
Wolfenstein developer, Machine Games, has been tapped to develop the new Indiana Jones game (see below), but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a Wolfenstein 3. While there’s certainly a world where Wolfenstein 3 has been canned, Bethesda VP, Pete Hines, has said in the past that Wolfenstein is “absolutely” coming. There are plot threads to the Wolfenstein 2 and Youngblood that are left unanswered, so it stands to reason that Bethesda is interested in finishing the story. Whether Machine Games develops it or not, I expect this game to also release on PlayStation considering this is the final chapter in a series that has enjoyed life on Sony’s consoles.
Indiana Jones – Xbox/PC Exclusive
This one is a little hard to predict. The details of the deal Bethesda struck with Lucasfilm are unknown. This one could have been hammered out before Microsoft acquired Bethesda, or maybe Microsoft has the power to alter the deal, or was involved all along. We may not know all the details for a while, but what we do know is that Microsoft has an outstanding license on it’s hands and they’ve given it to one of the most proven developers in the last decade. Machine Games has the chops to do something special with the Indy IP and I believe Microsoft will want to hold it close to the chest. Nothing would please them more than to have an answer to something like Spider-Man, which Sony has recently kept exclusive to PlayStation platforms. I just think this would be another exclusive heavy hitter, like Starfield, that wouldn’t tick a whole bunch of devoted fans off by not appearing on their preferred platform.
We shouldn’t be too far away from hearing more of Microsoft’s plans for Bethesda. I would expect by late summer we’ll have a much better picture on at least one of these games listed above and how Microsoft plans on utilizing them. Let us know, Deer Reader! How do you think Microsoft will handle the Bethesda games? Sound off in the comments below.