Microsoft Studios (& Partners) Current and Future Landscape

Apr 26, 2014
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Man, you really need to dial down the sodium intake. You sound like you're desperate for everybody to be as unhappy about MS Studios as you are.
People are free to be as happy as they want, but if you try to push your kool-aid on me with a bunch of nonsense I'll probably reply.

That said, posts like yours add nothing to the discussion at hand. I could say you're desperate to make people as happy about MGS as you are and my point would be as non-existent as yours. This a forum for people to discuss, if you don't like reading dissenting opinions go do something else or ignore my posts.
 
Jun 12, 2013
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To me, the point where I started worrying about Xbox first-party is when ReCore was a prominent part of Xbox's E3 showcase 2 years ago and set-up as a franchise IP with a big CGi trailer, etc.

No offence to that game, but it was clearly a AA-game by a small external developer who had AAA aims, but don't have the time, resources and staffing to deliver on ReCore.

It's a good show for a dev team the size of approximately 50 people, but it ended up leaving me wonder the elephant-in-the-room question of who are the other external devs right now that could be MS's current-and-potential development partners for a new AAA exclusive.

Off the top of my head, Sumo Digital, Playground, Insomniac, Platinum, Remedy, Obsidian, Ready at Dawn are the ones that immediately come to mind as "yeah, they could make a AAA game on-par with one of the internal teams."

Sure, there's more than that, but I feel like there's only tops-15 external devs that can deliver AAA quality, and out of those 15, only 5-6 of them are probably open to sign deals with a first-party.
 
Jan 19, 2016
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To me, the point where I started worrying about Xbox first-party is when ReCore was a prominent part of Xbox's E3 showcase 2 years ago and set-up as a franchise IP with a big CGi trailer, etc.

No offence to that game, but it was clearly a AA-game by a small external developer who had AAA aims, but don't have the time, resources and staffing to deliver on ReCore.

It's a good show for a dev team the size of approximately 50 people, but it ended up leaving me wonder the elephant-in-the-room question of who are the other external devs right now that could be MS's current-and-potential development partners for a new AAA exclusive.

Off the top of my head, Sumo Digital, Playground, Insomniac, Platinum, Remedy, Obsidian, Ready at Dawn are the ones that immediately come to mind as "yeah, they could make a AAA game on-par with one of the internal teams."

Sure, there's more than that, but I feel like there's only tops-15 external devs that can deliver AAA quality, and out of those 15, only 5-6 of them are probably open to sign deals with a first-party.
The thing that really bothers me about Recore was that there was a good game somewhere in there. Maybe if it was built on Unreal instead of Unity could have alleviated some problems but the real kicker was that is was very unfinished. Why send it out to die in the fall when you have a large spring gap!? Those extra 5-6 months could have done a lot for the development of that game.
 
Jun 12, 2013
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The thing that really bothers me about Recore was that there was a good game somewhere in there. Maybe if it was built on Unreal instead of Unity could have alleviated some problems but the real kicker was that is was very unfinished. Why send it out to die in the fall when you have a large spring gap!? Those extra 5-6 months could have done a lot for the development of that game.
That game had a very short dev cycle too.

Pre-production was around 14 months, and full development was 14 months too, so only slightly more than 2 years from start-to-finish.

It's quite obviously one of the very first projects Phil Spencer signed on as he became the head of Xbox, alongside Phantom Dust.
 

Papacheeks

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Jan 30, 2013
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Yeah, sure. I'm pretty happy with their output so far, though. And ReCore tier titles are by no means a bad thing to get. Look at Ori.
Recore was not a great game, if anything it was very mediocre for what it was. If you want more small Mediocre games like Recore than I hope for xbox's sake they do a better job at quality control.

You say your happy with their output, but sales/hype and gauged excitement would say your in the minority.
 
Sep 2, 2012
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Eh, I feel like the general consensus on ReCore was that there's a great game in there that just needed more time to cook. Even looking at the Metacritic page for it shows this.
A very interesting start to what could become an amazing franchise, Recore has so many good qualities that it is a great disappointment that it lacks those extra 4-6 months of extra work and polishing which could have made it an instant classic.
Had they put a little more money, time and attention into ReCore, there could have been an awesome game here. Unfortunately only the gameplay is okay, the rest of it is just meh.
ReCore offers a lighthearted, fun first few hours, but all that promise is quickly buried in a torrent of bugs and oversights, poor storytelling, and disjointed pacing that all make the game a pale shadow of what it could have been.
I think ReCore is actually exactly the type of game that needs a "definitive edition." It's just a shame it released in the state it is. I had a blast with the platforming.
 
Nov 19, 2014
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The thing that really bothers me about Recore was that there was a good game somewhere in there. Maybe if it was built on Unreal instead of Unity could have alleviated some problems but the real kicker was that is was very unfinished. Why send it out to die in the fall when you have a large spring gap!? Those extra 5-6 months could have done a lot for the development of that game.
There really wasn't a need to rush ReCore out either. I guess MS just wanted something to round out their fall lineup because it would have just been Gears 4, Forza Horizon 3 and Dead Rising 4.
ReCore was delayed. It was announced as a Spring 2016 title.
 
Jun 2, 2013
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ReCore definitely needed more time. The damn game still isn't finished and I completed it six months ago. It had the polish of a C-team production and one of the main robot characters still hasn't been added, even though he's on the freakin' box.
 
Nov 4, 2011
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ReCore definitely needed more time. The damn game still isn't finished and I completed it six months ago. It had the polish of a C-team production and one of the main robot characters still hasn't been added, even though he's on the freakin' box.
This one of those games I don't understand why Microsoft didn't decide to put its full backing behind.

After the initial reveal with just a CGI trailer, it seemed like there was a lot of hype for the game in the gaming world.

You would have thought they would have taken a step back and seen the franchise possibility.
 
Dec 26, 2011
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Microsoft needs something big to counter Sony's reliability with games and international recognition. Adding Switch into the mix with their console selling IPs and portability, having a console with the best performance is going to do nothing if you won't have games exclusive to it.
 
Sep 9, 2014
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ReCore definitely needed more time. The damn game still isn't finished and I completed it six months ago. It had the polish of a C-team production and one of the main robot characters still hasn't been added, even though he's on the freakin' box.
This really pisses me off, why even market and create a full on CG trailer making it seem like a AAA release when it was in such a state.

Microsoft needs something big to counter Sony's reliability with games and international recognition. Adding Switch into the mix with their console selling IPs and portability, having a console with the best performance is going to do nothing if you won't have games exclusive to it.
It will do something in terms of third party releases at the very least. But yes, they need to establish real pillars/franchises that can prop their platform up.
 
Nov 13, 2013
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Recore legit has some of the best 3D platforming you could hope for, it controls so fucking well.

It was just so janky, the loading times were atrocious on console and that awful decision to need a silly amount of cores to complete the final tower ruined what could have been a pretty good game overall.

The traversal dungeons are still incredible but silly design decisions and being so obviously rushed to market killed it.

Xbone has had a couple of 6/10 type games, Ryse being another one, that would get me interested in a sequel but it's never going to happen which is kind of a shame.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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Xbone has had a couple of 6/10 type games, Ryse being another one, that would get me interested in a sequel but it's never going to happen which is kind of a shame.
The sad thing is that publishers nowadays aren't generally interested in creating franchises unless the first game is a smash-hit out of the gate. I mean, for example, the original Rainbow Six or Ghost Recon games were very niche and weren't big sellers, but over time Ubisoft built on and supported them over the years, and made a pair of huge AAA franchises from them. Sony and MS need to step back and realise that sometimes even if the first game isn't a smash-hit, if played right the sequel can still become massive. Of course it's easy for me to say that on a forum when I'm not looking at figures and losing $40 million after a flop, but seeing as publishers are so guarded about sales numbers I have no choice but to make educated guesses.

I really think the likes of Ryse, Recore, Driveclub and The Order 1886 could be big hits with sequels that address their issues, but they need that publisher support.
 

nekkid

It doesn't matter who we are, what matters is our plan.
Jun 15, 2016
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Recore legit has some of the best 3D platforming you could hope for, it controls so fucking well.

It was just so janky, the loading times were atrocious on console and that awful decision to need a silly amount of cores to complete the final tower ruined what could have been a pretty good game overall.

The traversal dungeons are still incredible but silly design decisions and being so obviously rushed to market killed it.

Xbone has had a couple of 6/10 type games, Ryse being another one, that would get me interested in a sequel but it's never going to happen which is kind of a shame.
I still think we'll see Ryse 2. With Crytek being in the position they are, and MS needing more exclusives and graphics showcases, it seems inevitable.
 
Jun 12, 2013
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The problem with sequels to mediocre games that struggle to have any form of cult following is that...

To an extent, the IP and brand is potentially toxic and you have to spend more money to re-excite the audience about a game that already has the stigma of disinterest.

And you also need to have absolute faith that a developer that failed in their first outing with their new IP rodeo is able to transcend their first game by leaps and miles the same way the industry remembers fondly AssCreed 2, Uncharted 2, etc.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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I still think we'll see Ryse 2. With Crytek being in the position they are, and MS needing more exclusives and graphics showcases, it seems inevitable.
But that would be a good decision, and Crytek aren't in the business of making good decisions. When they realised no other publisher was interested in funding sequels they should have sold the IP to MS but got a contract so they get first refusal on two sequels. Then you have a good income for 4-5 years while Crytek find other means of getting income so they aren't constantly on the verge of going under.
 
Nov 19, 2014
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This really pisses me off, why even market and create a full on CG trailer making it seem like a AAA release when it was in such a state.
Because that's Microsoft's modus operandi? They've announced about half of their recent games with CGI trailers: Halo 5, that cancelled Black Tusk project, Fable Legends, Scalebound, Crackdown 3, Phantom Dust reboot, Halo Wars 2, etc.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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Because that's Microsoft's modus operandi? They've announced about half of their recent games with CGI trailers: Halo 5, that cancelled Black Tusk project, Fable Legends, Scalebound, Crackdown 3, Phantom Dust reboot, Halo Wars 2, etc.
Yeah, I don't like this practice. They did it with State of Decay 2 as well. If your game's not ready to show actual gameplay then it's not ready to be shown! They should consider the amazing reveal & reception games like God of War & Horizon had with actual gameplay demos and I think this should be the target for every publisher. Gears 4 had the right idea; they just need to do it more IMO.
 

nekkid

It doesn't matter who we are, what matters is our plan.
Jun 15, 2016
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Because that's Microsoft's modus operandi? They've announced about half of their recent games with CGI trailers: Halo 5, that cancelled Black Tusk project, Fable Legends, Scalebound, Crackdown 3, Phantom Dust reboot, Halo Wars 2, etc.
I don't mind CGI trailers to increase hype, but gameplay stuff needs to be there shortly after. A CGI trailer then nothing for 6 months or a year is bullshit.
 
Jun 12, 2013
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I don't mind CGi trailers, but I do think it's in the best interest to be upfront about who the developers are and what the game will be/look like if you're not going to show gameplay anytime soon.

This wasn't that big of a deal with ReCore, but there was confusion about the scope and scale of the game for quite a while. Partly because the developer has never made a AAA game, but the scoping and sales pitch of the game leveraged the dev's Metroid Prime history, Keiji Inafune's association and Aaron Greenberg saying it's a AAA game or something along those ilk, which paints a certain amount of uncertainty behind the full scope of the game.

And this was the worst with Phantom Dust, where a refusal to acknowledge who the developers of the game were initially without any context of how the game would look in actuality, was indigenous, because for E3's sake, Xbox wanted to have that game be one of its big 3 "one last thing", but held back on revealing the developer, because revealing the dev would clearly diminish that CG trailer reveal's mic drop impact due to the fact it wasn't a AAA developer on-board, but a smaller one.
 
Jun 8, 2014
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I still think we'll see Ryse 2. With Crytek being in the position they are, and MS needing more exclusives and graphics showcases, it seems inevitable.
Eeeh, I dunno. The split didn't seem amicable. They were adamnt about owning the IP so unless that changed (parity clause says hello) i doubt either party's gonna budge.
 

nekkid

It doesn't matter who we are, what matters is our plan.
Jun 15, 2016
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Eeeh, I dunno. The split didn't seem amicable. They were adamnt about owning the IP so unless that changed (parity clause says hello) i doubt either party's gonna budge.
I'm interested in why they demanded it. They didn't for SO, for example.

Maybe it was a hangover from the Kinect implementation.
 
Jun 12, 2013
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I'm interested in why they demanded it. They didn't for SO, for example.

Maybe it was a hangover from the Kinect implementation.
Didn't. Past tense.

I think the fact that there was a risk that they could had lost Gears and for it to go multi-plat was a wake-up call that most IPs aren't worth it to let the developer have a favorable IP ownership deal.

Phil has said that he wants to own the IPs he funds. This is a clear change of strategy from earlier in the generation, where they don't mind funding non-IP owned games.

Furthermore, Ryse and Sunset Overdrive were not blockbuster hits. That also means the developer has no leverage to demand its sequel be funded under the same terms if the game isn't worth it to the publisher to fund.

Whereas Gears of War was a huge success, so naturally MS wouldn't blink an eye for more sequels on the same terms.
 
Dec 13, 2006
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I'm interested in why they demanded it. They didn't for SO, for example.

Maybe it was a hangover from the Kinect implementation.
Ms want to own ips now, my guess is they knew Crytek had financial difficulties and felt it was a risk so they wanted the ip in exchange for funding and thought they would agree as they needed it but they cancelled it instead as they don't give up ip like that.

I do think relations may have improved recently with it being GWG but unfortunately we're still not getting a sequel I'd wager.

I'm guessing Insomniac had more bargaining power and ms knew they'd never give it up if they asked for it given the deal they signed originally
 
Aug 14, 2015
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I thought it was quite well known that Insomniac went with MS for SO because they wanted to own their IP for once? Sony own the Ratchet and Clank IP and wanted the same with SO while MS were willing to let Insomniac keep the rights to SO.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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The irony about MS not sticking with Sunset Overdrive for a sequel is that I bet the same engine and a lot of the tech is being re-appropriated into Spider-Man. The game not selling all that well and MS not signing a sequel has in a way resulted in one of the biggest games on their competitor's slate.

But anyway, I understand MS being hesitant to fund IPs they don't own any more. Sony has been doing this since the PS2 days precisely because they lost Crash & Spyro, and maybe MS also felt the pinch when they were 'forced' to buy Gears to prevent it potentially ending up on the competing platform.
 
Jun 12, 2013
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Sweetheart IP deals in AAA publishing is getting rarer and rarer in this industry.

Ones that continue to this day are... Titanfall. Destiny. Borderlands.

There's some others, but I'm blanking on names.
 
Jun 8, 2014
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I thought it was quite well known that Insomniac went with MS for SO because they wanted to own their IP for once? Sony own the Ratchet and Clank IP and wanted the same with SO while MS were willing to let Insomniac keep the rights to SO.
All true but consider this - MS was in need for exclusives back then, so flashing a 'Insomniac Xbox-only exclusive' card at E3 was probably worth letting them keep the IP just for the PR win.

But SO failed to light the charts and that most certainly played into their current mindset of No IP ownership = No funding
 
Oct 2, 2015
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MS has a lot of interesting ips to reboot such as too human, crimsom skies, brute force, blinx, perfect dark, etc. c'mon! I'd like to see one of them on e3!

And splinter cell should return as an exclusive in this e3! :)
 
Apr 1, 2013
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MS has a lot of interesting ips to reboot such as too human, crimsom skies, brute force, blinx, perfect dark, etc. c'mon! I'd like to see one of them on e3!

And splinter cell should return as an exclusive in this e3! :)
I always got the impression that Too Human belonged to Silicon Knights. I believe after they lost the lawsuit to Epic Games they were ordered to recall all copies of the game, without Microsoft being involved.

If Splinter Cell comes back I seriously doubt it will be exclusive, timed or otherwise. When was the last time Ubisoft made one of their tentpole AAA titles exclusive? Maybe Splinter Cell Conviction?
 
May 28, 2014
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People are free to be as happy as they want, but if you try to push your kool-aid on me with a bunch of nonsense I'll probably reply.

That said, posts like yours add nothing to the discussion at hand. I could say you're desperate to make people as happy about MGS as you are and my point would be as non-existent as yours. This a forum for people to discuss, if you don't like reading dissenting opinions go do something else or ignore my posts.
Who said anything about dissenting opinions? I agree, MS first party output isn't where most people (myself included!) want it to be. I just think you're bringing an unnecessary level of hostility and vitriol into things, is all.

Recore was not a great game, if anything it was very mediocre for what it was. If you want more small Mediocre games like Recore than I hope for xbox's sake they do a better job at quality control.

You say your happy with their output, but sales/hype and gauged excitement would say your in the minority.
ReCore was pretty fun, but what I meant by ReCore tier (given the followup example of Ori...) was more small-ish experiences. ReCore being unpolished and unfinished doesn't invalidate the concept.

I don't mind CGI trailers to increase hype, but gameplay stuff needs to be there shortly after. A CGI trailer then nothing for 6 months or a year is bullshit.
Basically agreed. I'm fine with leading with a CGI trailer to build hype and set the tone/expectations, but you really ought to have a gameplay segment waiting in the wings. Certainly don't do it if you aren't totally sure there'll BE gameplay. *Looks at Phantom Dust remake*
 
Apr 1, 2013
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Who said anything about dissenting opinions? I agree, MS first party output isn't where most people (myself included!) want it to be. I just think you're bringing an unnecessary level of hostility and vitriol into things, is all.
Yeah, he's right Salty. I understand you're primarily in the Sony camp (as am I), but I feel like you're being a little unnecessarily hostile in here. Normally if a lot of heated arguments over platform favouritism happens then topics get locked, so don't get this locked for the other MS fans dude.
 
Jun 8, 2014
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Yeah, he's right Salty. I understand you're primarily in the Sony camp (as am I), but I feel like you're being a little unnecessarily hostile in here. Normally if a lot of heated arguments over platform favouritism happens then topics get locked, so don't get this locked for the other MS fans dude.
Actually, if you're familiar with him, Salty was very much Pro-MS when this gen started. I recall several rather snide and hostile remarks towards Sony and people used avatar quoting to mock him.

I just see his current behavior more of a rather hardcore MS believer who felt like he got burned.

Not excusing his behavior - just don't agree with the label that he's a Sony fan starting shit for shits sake.
 
Feb 18, 2013
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Actually, if you're familiar with him, Salty was very much Pro-MS when this gen started. I recall several rather snide and hostile remarks towards Sony and people used avatar quoting to mock him.

I just see his current behavior more of a rather hardcore MS believer who felt like he got burned.

Not excusing his behavior - just don't agree with the label that he's a Sony fan starting shit for shits sake.
I don't see what the problem is, I'm a fan too and I find I agree a lot more with what he says than disagree.
 
Aug 11, 2016
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If MS reboots a classic like Crimson Skies I just hope beyond hope that they put the full effort of a first party title behind it. Give it a proper single player campaign to go along with multi with a rich story, good voice acting, good writing, and modern AAA graphics. I don't want a half ass nostalgia AA reboot. It's a great unique UP I want to get excited about again.
 

m23

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Dec 19, 2011
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MS has a lot of interesting ips to reboot such as too human, crimsom skies, brute force, blinx, perfect dark, etc. c'mon! I'd like to see one of them on e3!

And splinter cell should return as an exclusive in this e3! :)
Splinter Cell won't and should not be exclusive unless Microsoft is funding the game. Why are people wishing for 3rd party games to be made exclusive?

They need to focus on their own IPs rather than just using others.

Also Perfect Dark isn't interesting enough to come back IMO. Make a new IP. I loved the one on n64 but the reboot was pretty terrible.
 
Sep 4, 2015
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So its Halo 6 and Forza Horizon 4 for 2018 and that's it? Maybe a AA game like ReCore or Ori if we're lucky?

I'll wait till after E3 has been and gone before proclaiming that as what is going to happen.
I think that is my expectation for next year but I am giving MS the benefit of the doubt as well. I imagine they'll have at least one more AAA title to go along with Halo 6 and Forza Horizon 4 along with a smaller AA type title. I also think Sea of Thieves is coming 2018 but we'll see.
 
Nov 20, 2016
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Some developers that Microsoft should try/shoulda tried to work with:
Obsidian (second time's the charm?)
From Software
Mistwalker
I like these. Also Valhalla Game Studios, taking into account Itagaki's good opinion of Microsoft. Yeah, Microsoft dropped Devil's Third, but they helped Itagaki with finding a new publisher and he still says good things about Microsoft and their partnership.