Xbox Game Studios has secret projects from Ninja Theory and Obsidian in the works, according to Microsoft's General Manager of Games Marketing at Xbox Aaron Greenberg during a recent interview. Microsoft managed to acquire several major studios in just over a year, including Ninja Theory, Obsidian, Undead Labs, and Double Fine.
Ninja Theory is most famous for Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, a ground-breaking game that featured some of the best motion capture acting in the history of the medium on top of unique, chilling gameplay that relied on headphones to make the user experience as engrossing as possible. Obsidian, on the other hand, is an RPG juggernaut that has been deeply embedded in the genre for years now, with its most recent release, Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, receiving a great deal of praise despite occupying the niche cRPG sub-genre of the scene. Both studios were coming off extremely positive feedback and games that were some of the best in their respective years when Microsoft acquired them, making them two of the biggest factors in the success or failure of the Xbox Game Studios business model now that it has been so aggressive in acquiring talent.
During an interview with Xbox: The Official Magazine in the November 2019 issue 182, Greenberg discussed the energy surrounding the newly-acquired development studios as they work on new games. While Greenberg highlighted both creative direction, praising innovation from all parties, and a huge amount of content, one of the most interesting things he discussed was what the future of both Ninja Theory and Obsidian might look like:
"Ninja Theory...Tameem Antoniades, who worked on Hellblade, his team is off working on something else and we haven't talked about that yet. At Obsidian, there's the team working on The Outer Worlds, a team that's working on Pillars, and a team working on another secret thing."
That's an unannounced, secret project from two of the biggest devs in Xbox Game Studios, making the future of the console ahead of Project Scarlett even more tantalizing. Ninja Theory is a wildcard in terms of what it could be working on, but the quality of recent offerings suggests it will be a big game regardless of what the central conceit of it is. For Obsidian, the possibilities are even broader, albeit it seems extremely likely it will be another AAA RPG. With RPGs - and single-player experiences in general - making a huge comeback over the past few years of gaming, both these studios having secret projects in the works make Xbox Game Studios as a whole even more important to watch in the coming months.
It's an exciting time for Xbox fans, who spent most of the current console generation envying the huge amount of PlayStation 4 exclusives that went on to collect several Game of the Year awards and nominations. With Xbox renewing its focus on investing in talented studios with strong creative visions, however, it's possible consumers are on the brink of a paradigm shift - even if Xbox Game Studios doesn't necessarily mean it will be churning out only Xbox exclusives. At the very least, new secret projects from Ninja Theory and Obsidian should make for a lot of fascinating fan speculation ahead of whenever those projects finally get announced by Xbox Game Studios.