Microsoft has been rapidly expanding their internal Xbox Game Studios in recent years, snapping up studios like Double Fine, Obsidian Entertainment, and Bethesda and all of its sub-studios, but according to new rumors they’re also looking to make big deals with third-party devs as well. Last week, Windows Central’s Jez Corden, who has a history of delivering accurate insider Xbox info, dropped this tweet…
Don't count out Xbox Global Publishing either. 👀
Some really interesting partnerships in the works. 🌀
— Jez 🥑 (@JezCorden) April 7, 2021
There’s certainly lots of room for interpretation there! Well, today Corden provided a bit more information, saying Microsoft was planning to publish a game from a “prominent third-party AAA studio.” Without giving anything away, Corden says the game sounds “extremely promising” and will feature an “ambitious connected world.” The game should be revealed either this year or next.
Interestingly, this may be just the beginning. Apparently, Microsoft has commissioned prototypes from at least three other “high caliber” third party studios. Oh, and none of them, or the game mentioned above, are Kojima Productions' next project, although Corden doesn't rule that partnership out. Of course, take all this with a grain of salt for now, but it all seems plausible enough – it will probably take a few years for the new and improved Xbox Game Studios to really get up to speed, so locking down some big third-party titles in the meantime make sense.
So, if this turns out to be the real deal, what major third-party game could Microsoft be getting ready to publish? Most people have focused on that mysterious emoji Jez Corden included in his tweet. Is it meant to bring to mind Ubisoft's logo? Or maybe Sonic the Hedgehog? The gun barrel pattern from beginning of 007 movies? There’s been a lot of speculation. To add one more theory to the pile, the cyclone symbol immediately made me think of Just Cause 4 and developer Avalanche Studios. Where does the truth lie? We’ll just have to wait and see.
What do you think Microsoft’s big third-party game might be? What kind of third-party deals would you like to see the company make?