Announced as a dedication to the first-party development of games at Microsoft Studios, E3 2018 brought forward nearly double the in-house development teams to bring Xbox platform exclusive titles.
Acquiring four new studios, and creating one entirely new studio, Microsoft has expanded from 7 total in-house development teams as announced at E3. Announced by Phil Spencer today at the E3 2018 press conference, Microsoft welcomes The Initiative, Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, and Compulsion Games to the fold. Joining up with 343 Studios, the Microsoft Casual Games Team (including Mojang), Turn 10 Studios, Lift London, Rare, Mojang, and The Coalition – look forward to more games and more fun on Xbox platforms for years to come.
So what are the five new development teams working on? Let’s have a look:
Based in Santa Monica, The Initiative is the only of five studios which has been created from the ground up for Microsoft’s announcement today. Lead by Darrell Gallagher, the former head of Crystal Dynamics [Tomb Raider], The Initiative is looking to assemble a “world-class talent to create groundbreaking new game experiences.”
Creators of the State of Decay series, Microsoft has added a Seattle-based company lead by a former Blizzard and ArenaNet developer in Jeff Strain. State of Decay 2 is actively managed as an Xbox exclusive today, and may expand as part of this announcement.
Developing out of the United Kingdom, Playground Games announced Forza Horizon 4 coming to Xbox platforms as part of today’s conference. Developing the series of open-world racers exclusively for Xbox in years past, the series is now home as an official Microsoft Games Studio from here on out.
The developer behind the DMC: Devil May Cry, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and more will now create first-party games at Microsoft Studios. Creating great content out of England, the developer will build on BAFTA-winning success going forward for one of the world’s leading publishers.
Developing from a point of relative infancy, Compulsion Games has been picked up just before the release of their first title, We Happy Few. Originally announcing We Happy Few for Xbox, PC and PS4, this may be the most curious announcement as Microsoft may choose to hold the title off from publishing on Sony platforms. Given Microsoft’s publishing of Minecraft on so many platforms, we may see Compulsion Games wait on their first-ever exclusive until after their first release.