Bethesda Founder Says Microsoft Is Looking to Repeat Bungie Success with the Acquisition
Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda smashed through games industry news last week, leaving everyone stunned at the massive deal (priced at $7.5 billion in cash).
Bethesda founder Christopher Weaver, who left the company back in 2002, was interviewed by Inverse following the news and shared an interesting angle. According to Weaver, Microsoft might be looking to repeat the success they've had with the acquisition of Bungie in 2000, prior to the launch of the original Xbox; Bungie would go on to create one of the biggest franchises in gaming with Halo, though they eventually split with Microsoft in 2007.
The Bethesda founder also pointed out that the speed with which his former company will be able to bolster Microsoft's pipeline of games will be critical for the success of this operation.
We had an excellent relationship with Microsoft in the late '90s/early 2000s. In fact, I was close to key members of the original Xbox development team and shared many thoughts for what their “next-gen" console could bring to gaming. That team took many leaps of technical faith and built a box that IMHO surpassed everything else at the time. While overseas sales might not have reflected that, when coupled with forward-looking moves to Xbox Live, and their prescient purchase of studios such as Bungie, Microsoft has proven they are a force with whom everyone in the industry must reckon.
The acquisition of Bungie acted as an important trigger for the success of the early Xbox. Depending upon how soon Bethesda can prime the Microsoft pipeline, I suspect Microsoft is looking at their playbook and looking to repeat one of its “best moves.” If the strategy works, it will be a brilliant counter-move against Sony. Users from around the world will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this deal. I wish them well.
Bethesda isn't particularly known for the speed of its game development. On top of that, two of its games that are closer to be released (Ghostwire: Tokyo by Tango Gameworks and Deathloop by Arkane) are ironically going to be timed console exclusives on PlayStation 5 due to deals with Sony previous to this acquisition.
However, next year we might see Starfield from Bethesda Game Studios and Wolfenstein III from MachineGames, which would certainly be welcome additions to Microsoft's 2021 lineup.