Xbox’s Matt Booty Wants to Create Lasting Stories and Characters, Like Lord of The Rings and Marvel

Jan 11, 2020
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Matt Booty, Head of Xbox Game Studios at Microsoft, shared some interesting insights into the strategy of the first-party studios going forward.

Speaking to MCVUK, he highlighted the importance for the internal Xbox studios to be able to bring to life stories and characters that are capable of captivating the global audience for a long time, such as those of the Lord of the Rings or Marvel for example.

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We need to make sure that we hold the bar high on quality, and that we’re releasing games that we can be proud of and that the fans can be proud of as Xbox exclusives.

And then lastly, we need to continue building characters, stories and worlds that can transcend generations, devices and platforms. You know, if you look into things like the Marvel characters or Lord of the Rings, when those Marvel characters were first invented in the 1960s, nobody knew that there was going to be a thing called Netflix.

But yet, here we are. And, you know, the Marvel library figures heavily into video streaming. And so I think we are lucky to have worlds and universes like Halo, where there’s characters that can support TV series, books, comic books and all kinds of games. Things like Minecraft that can ship on 23 platforms, and is in schools, and we just need to stay focused on building those kinds of things that really will be generational and last for a while. And I think that if we do that the rest will take care of itself.

Indeed, it is easy to understand why it would be great for the Xbox brand to have similarly strong intellectual properties (IPs). Not only would they captivate gamers, but they'd have a shot at expanding the audience via TV series (Halo is getting one next year, after a long development), movies and the like.

Admittedly, Xbox has historically struggled to deliver compelling stories and characters, especially when compared to the first party output of Sony's PlayStation studios. Booty does recognize the issue earlier in the MCVUK interview; however, there are now Xbox studios with proven storytelling prowess such as Obsidian, Ninja Theory, and inXile. We'll see if they can come up with anything that can come close to the paragons cited by Matt Booty.

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