Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard raises immediate questions about its biggest game. Will Call of Duty become an Xbox exclusive? (It doesn’t appear to be.) Will the Master Chief appear in Overwatch? Will we get a World of Warcraft/Elder Scrolls online crossover event? (Microsoft bought Bethesda less than a year ago, don’t forget.)
These are valid questions, but in an interview Washington post, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer touches on what I think is a more interesting question: What about all of Activision’s legacy products?
“I was looking at the IP list, I mean, let’s go!” Spencer said. “King’s Quest, Guitar Hero…I should know that, but I think they got Hexen.”
It does have Hexen, which was developed by Raven Software in the early 90’s – Activision acquired Raven in 1997. And not only that. Activision also owns the Sierra brand, from King’s Quest to SWAT (and a controversial finger in the No One Lives Forever pie), as well as Star Control and Crash Bandicoot studio toys for Bob, prototype developer Radical Entertainment, and others. – This is a long list.
Blizzard has a strong back catalog of its own: Microsoft brought back the Age of Empires, so maybe it’ll do the same for StarCraft – maybe one day we’ll even get StarCraft: Ghosts (but probably not). It’s been a while since we’ve seen a proper new Warcraft game.
It’s not a complete pipe dream: Spencer told the Wall Street Journal that Microsoft intends to discuss with its new studio the games that are struggling in the Activision Blizzard archives — including those, like Bob’s Toys and (hopefully, I would love another Singularity) Raven, which has been relegated to a Call of Duty support studio.
“We want to be able to work with them when the deal closes to make sure we have the resources to develop the franchises that I’ve loved growing up and the franchises that teams really want to acquire,” Spencer said. “I’m looking forward to it. These conversations. I really think it’s about increasing resources and increasing capacity.”
It’s an exciting prospect. Activision Blizzard is a big company, but it’s focused on guaranteed moneymakers — it absolutely dwarfs Microsoft when it comes to “adding resources and improving capabilities.” It’s not just about money, though.Twitter user Pete XNFor example, it’s a reminder that Microsoft also owns Double Fine Productions, led by Tim Schafer, one of the central figures behind the famous adventure game developed by Lucasarts, a direct competitor to Sierra in the 1990s. Could Shaffer-led space exploration be restarted?no, but it is possible, gosh, I’ll spend a lot of money playing it.
Spencer is doing more than milking cows. Enthusiastic about it, but it’s all wishful thinking at the moment, as Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has a long way to go: Microsoft currently estimates the deal will pass regulatory hurdles and close Sometime in its fiscal 2023, which ends on June 20, 2023.