According to reports, Microsoft is on the verge of finalizing a deal to acquire independent developer Obsidian Entertainment.
The news was first broke by Kotaku, who claim to have heard the news from three people briefed on the negotiations. They quote one source as saying that the deal is “90% finished” and a second source with saying that “it’s a matter of when, not if”.
Obsidian Entertainment is best known for developing a number of well-received RPG games, such as Knights of the Old Republic II and Fallout: New Vegas. The news comes as a slight surprise, as it hasn’t always been plain sailing between Microsoft and the California-based independent developers. Obsidian Entertainment almost went out of business back in 2012 when Microsoft cancelled the ambitious Xbox One exclusive Stormlands which they had been working on together. Luckily, a successful Kickstarter campaign allowed Obsidian to make isometric fantasy-RPG Pillars of Eternity, which launched to great critical and commercial success and essentially saved the studio.
When approached about the subject, both companies remained tight-lipped, with Microsoft saying “we do not comment on rumours or speculation,” and a representative for Obsidian saying “Unfortunately, we don’t comment on rumours or speculation other than to say that the Rumors album by Fleetwood Mac still holds up,” Bloody love a bit of humour, we do. They’re not wrong, by the way.
Although the news is still yet to be confirmed, it would make sense for both parties. For a company that walked the fine line of going out of business, having the deep pockets of Microsoft behind them would give Obsidian Entertainment a great level of stability and provide them with resources the likes of which they’ve never seen before. As for Microsoft, they’ve been on a developer shopping spree as of late, purchasing the likes of Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Undead Labs (State of Decay) and Ninja Theory (Hellblade). It can’t be doubted that Microsoft dropped the ball a bit on exclusives for this console generation, with Sony easily having the bulk of the real game-changing exclusive titles for the PS4. The purchases of these developers is clearly a move by Microsoft to ensure that the Xbox (whether it be this generation or the next) gets a greater deal of high-quality exclusive titles in the future, and Obsidian Entertainment would be another great studio for them to have on board.