Shack Chat: What do you want to see from Microsoft acquiring ZeniMax/Bethesda?

One of the biggest game publishers on the planet was acquired by Microsoft this week. Our staff chimes in with their thoughts on an ideal marriage between Zenimax and Xbox.

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Perhaps Microsoft had been hearing the online chatter for months. "Xbox has no real exclusives." Whether was true before or not, it is hard to argue against the potential lineup that Team Xbox has the potential to offer in the aftermath of Microsoft acquiring Zenimax/Bethesda earlier this week. As the impending launch of the next generation consoles beings to inch closer, Microsoft fired its biggest and best shot at Sony yet.

In this week's Shak Chat feature, the staff wonders about the future of Bethesda games and properties now that they reside under the Microsoft umbrella. Is Quake 5 a lock to appear on Game Pass? Will Arkane Studios be assigned to fixing Crackdown? The possibilities are endless.  

Question: What do you want to see from Microsoft acquiring ZeniMax/Bethesda?


The end of Bethesda's buggy launches - Ozzie Mejia, Best Buy can bite me

Bethesda has had a notorious history of launching its biggest games with glitches or weird bugs. It happened with Fallout 4, it happened with Rage, and it even happened with Skyrim. It's become a running joke that Bethesda's games would have rocky launches. Now that Microsoft is at the helm, it'd be nice to see that joke get put to rest. Let's have smooth launches from here on out.



Fascinated - Donovan Erskine, Elite Gamer

Once upon a time, I was an Xbox 360 fanboy and Bethesda was my favorite game studio. Though I’ve broadened my interests since then, I’m really excited about the possible implications of this deal. Microsoft being able to pour their endless resources into future Bethesda games really expands the possibilities of what we could be getting down the line. Also, knowing that games like Fallout 5 and The Elder Scrolls 6 will launch on Game Pass for both console and PC is just wonderful.

The conversation around this acquisition has revolved around the possibility of Microsoft going exclusive with some of Bethesda’s biggest franchises. Personally, I think that long-running franchises like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout will remain multi-platform. However, there’s a good chance that the new IP Starfield will be an Xbox/Windows exclusive. It would be a huge get for the Xbox ecosystem in the next generation.



Give them the Gears franchise! - Blake Morse, Reviews Editor

Let’s face it, Gears of War has been on a steady decline in quality since GoW3 marked the end of the original storyline for Marcus and the gang. And although Gears of War 5 may have been our Xbox One GOTY in 2019 it was mostly making the best out of a bad situation. I’d love to see Bethesda get a shot at returning the series to its former glory. I know a lot of people are banking on the purchase bringing back some of their fave Zenimax titles, but I also think this a two-way street and Microsoft should let them take a crack at some of their dwindling first-party IP’s. I used to love the Gears series and I’d like to love it again, maybe in the hands of Zenimax/Bethesda that’s a possibility. And hey, why not give them the Crackdown franchise while you’re at it too, huh?



Good games - Chris Jarrard, would like to be acquired by MS

I have not been a fan of Bethesda games that have come along since Morrowind. Hopefully, the Microsoft takeover can allow the dev team to mix up its formula in a novel way. I would also like to see the studios that were under Bethesda get some more shine. Machine Games and Arkane do great work and I hope they have the freedom to try out all new stuff. I’m a simple guy who would enjoy some good games. Maybe find a way to do another good Terminator game, as those were Bethesda’s best for those in the know.


This is huge - Sam Chandler, Trust the Spencer

This will likely have massive and long-lasting effects on a major portion of the games industry. Of course, this is totally dependent on how Microsoft chooses to handle Bethesda titles moving forward.

While Microsoft has been more than happy to have games on other platforms, the games have been either titles already released on said platform or games created by studios that it doesn’t own directly.

We could potentially be entering an age where Sony no longer has access to some of the hottest games on the market. In saying this, all Microsoft’s first-party titles are available on Xbox and PC, as well as through Game Pass, so the company is still in the good books as far as PC players are concerned.

It could be a bit of a dick move to deprive PlayStation players of Elder Scrolls 6, but haven’t they been going on about how MS doesn’t have any good exclusives? And so the monkey’s paw curls.


Fallout 5 - Bill Lavoy, Sole Survivor

After playing The Outer Worlds last year and the first DLC, Peril on Gorgon, this year, Obsidian showed me what a proper Fallout vibe was like. I didn’t get to play Fallout: New Vegas, but I now understand why fans of the franchise frequently talk about it being the best installment in the franchise. Now that Bethesda and Obsidian are both hanging out in the same space, I’d love to see Bethesda turn Fallout 5 over to Obsidian to see if they can recreate some of that Fallout: New Vegas magic they are fondly known for.


More games, please - Josh Hawkins, Guides Guy

Microsoft buying Zenimax is huge and it was fascinating to wake up to earlier in the week. There are so many great franchises under the Microsoft umbrella now, and so many great developers all in one place. Honestly, the only thing I want out of the Microsoft Zenimax acquisition is more great games to get lost in. Give me more beautiful and expansive worlds. More detail. Give me more dragons and spaceships and universes. I don’t really care what kind of game it is, just give it all to me. Except Rage 3. Please just let that series RIP, guys.


Easy access Arkane Day 1 - TJ Denzer, Newsloop exclusively on PS5/PC

I have never been shy about my love of Arkane Studios. The Dishonored and Prey series are among my favorite franchises and Deathloop is looking delightful from top to bottom. I know Deathloop is going to be exclusive to PS5 when it launches and Microsoft is going to honor that, but from here on out (and there are already upcoming projects confirmed alongside Deathloop), having the Xbox Game Pass while Microsoft owns Bethesda/ZeniMax and Arkane Studios along with it means I can hopefully just download any Arkane game I feel like playing whenever I feel like playing it without worrying if I have it on the platform. 

It will be great to get a taste of these games without spending a dime outside of what I already put into Xbox Game Pass. That goes for a lot of the upcoming and current Bethesda catalog, but having that kind of access to Arkane games is definitely what I’m most excited to get out of this deal.


RPG Nirvana - David L. Craddock, long reads editor

I read a take recently that through these acquisitions, Microsoft has positioned Xbox and Windows 10 as premier destinations for roleplaying games. That didn’t occur to me until I broke down the company’s recent acquisitions. Think about it: Bethesda, Arkane, inXile, Obsidian, and that only counts studios known for RPGs and RPG-adjacent franchises. About those franchises: Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Dishonored, Pillars of Eternity, Knights of the Old Republic (included for posterity since I presume Obsidian and Microsoft would have to go through Disney to make a KOTOR 3), sequels to formerly multiplatform titles such as The Outer Worlds…

My list doesn’t include internal projects such as Fable. If Microsoft wanted to shut Sony out, it could. Sony is still the most popular platform to play venerable JRPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, but the JRPG as we’ve known it since the 1980s has retained a fraction of the popularity it enjoyed in the 8-, 16-, and 32-bit eras.

Some might argue that Microsoft would be leaving money on the table by precluding IP like Elder Scrolls and Fallout to appear on non-Microsoft platforms. Maybe. Microsoft cut a check for $7.5b to acquire the Zenimax/Bethesda panoply of studios. If it was willing to pay that much, I’d imagine it’s willing to lose a little more if it means giving RPG fans more reason to own an Xbox S/X and/or a Windows 10 PC.

I’m not in favor of shutting doors. However, as an industry enthusiast and a historian, I am interested in seeing how platforms distinguish themselves from competitors. It’s been a long time since Microsoft had an ace up its sleeve in the genre department. Now, it may have several.


I want to see Brian Fargo make a new Fallout Game - Greg Burke, Head of Video

With Microsoft gobbling up all these high profile studios, Obsidian, inXile, and now Bethesda, I’d absolutely love to see Brian Fargo’s vision of a first-person Fallout game, it doesn't have to be Fallout 5 or New Vegas 2, just any game in the Fallout Universe. I think it’s great that the original creator of the Fallout franchise has an opportunity to make a new game. While Brian doesn't technically have the right to Fallout since it’s part of Microsoft, his studio falls under this blanket of the IP. This is something that I’d love to see. 


It’s a Big Deal!-Steve Tyminski, Contributing Editor

Mergers happen in all kinds of businesses but they mostly don’t have a good ending for the company in question. That being said, Microsoft acquired Zenimax/Bethesda this week and it’s a huge win for the company. That being said, it’s a huge get for Microsoft as well. I remember one of the first PR events I attended was for Bethesda and one of my favorite Bethesda games, Dishonored. I like everything about Dishonored and if this merger/buy-out/whatever you want to call it, gets the world a brand new Dishonored game, I’ll be happy.


What would you like to see from this rockstar video game marriage? Let us know in the comments below!

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
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    September 25, 2020 1:05 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Shack Chat: What do you want to see from Microsoft acquiring ZeniMax/Bethesda?

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      September 25, 2020 1:49 PM

      I’d like to see them let Shinji Mikami and his team walk away if they want.

      I’d also “like” to see MSFT release a huge title like Fallout/ES/Starfield as an MMO, requiring a GamePass subscription to play. And by “like”, I mean “that’d be a shitty and unsurprising development”.

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        September 26, 2020 6:43 AM

        I don’t think the first will happen. If MS can make Tim Schaffer and brian Fargo happy, mikami can be happy too.

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      September 25, 2020 1:56 PM

      could we get an actually engaging combat system for the next Elder Scrolls?

      people dog on W3 for the combat, but somehow Bethesda gets a pass for an unbalanced, janky, unfun mess.

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      September 25, 2020 2:19 PM

      A better Elderscrolls engine, and just less bugginess in general.

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      September 25, 2020 2:45 PM

      I’d like to see a Skyrim dragon having sex with the Halo Warthog.

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      September 25, 2020 3:10 PM

      End of the awful Bethesda launcher and my purchases to port over to MS store or steam.

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      September 25, 2020 5:03 PM

      let Obsidian make a mother fucking isometric fallout!

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        September 25, 2020 5:22 PM

        I'd love that so much, but doubt it would ever happen.

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      September 25, 2020 5:19 PM

      Would be nice to see some dev/art/designer driven games instead of death by a thousand executive decisions

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        September 25, 2020 5:24 PM

        They've got enough in their stable to actually do some passion projects/unproven [interesting] things. CMON!

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      September 25, 2020 5:55 PM

      PREY 2!!!! PLEASE MICROSOFT!!!! PLEASE FUND PREY 2!!!!

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        September 25, 2020 5:57 PM

        Prey (2017) 2, not Prey (2006) 2. I mean they should totally have Roundhouse Studios (formerly Human Head) work on Prey (2006) 2, if they want to do that, as well. Just don't have both titles called Prey 2. Even though now they both have claim to the title. BLAST!!!

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      September 25, 2020 5:57 PM

      ELDER SCROLLS ON AN ENGINE THAT DOESN'T MAKE ME WANT TO KILL MYSELF WHEN I PLAY IT

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      September 25, 2020 8:27 PM

      Non buggy games

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      September 25, 2020 10:58 PM

      Don't interfere and don't make anything console exclusive or console first.

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        September 25, 2020 11:52 PM

        Seeing Amazons move and waiting for Googles reply makes the idea of MS not making these games exclusive almost impossible.

        I think the non exclusive games will be Elder Scroll Online and Fallout 76 expansions as those games are already on PS4 and MS will continue to support them.

        But everything else will move to exclusive.

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        September 26, 2020 6:44 AM

        Alex, things that will never happen after a 7+ billion acquisition foe the win please

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      September 25, 2020 11:11 PM

      MS Flight Sim: Fallout edition, where you get to shoot stuff while making pew, pew noises.

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      September 26, 2020 6:27 AM

      Oh oh! LocoCycle 2!!

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      September 26, 2020 6:47 AM

      I want them to do what they have done with inxile and all the other studios. Give them support and money and let them do their thing. Yes, they should Continue to explore their current IPs. But also let them spin up another team at each studio to do something new and crazy. Let the studios push their limits and make some games that are truely next gen and a reason that game pass is a must have.

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