If you’re a gamer then you’ve heard of Arkane Studios, Bethesda, Tango Gameworks, id Software and MachineGames, but you may not have heard of ZeniMax Media. ZeniMax is actually the parent company of eight video game development studios and the owner of a number of notable franchises. From Dishonored, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom and more. We’re here to remind you just how many game franchises Microsoft has acquired in their new acquisition deal.
On September 21st, a day before the Xbox Series X pre-orders go live, Microsoft made the shocking announcement that it was acquiring ZeniMax Media for a whopping $7.5 billion. This is one of the biggest company acquisitions in the history of video games, and what they plan to do with these studios right now is anyone’s guess. While it’s possible Microsoft will still release some of the big franchise names on other consoles such as the PS5 and Nintendo Switch. Could the future of these franchises below just be PC and Xbox Series X’s lineup of exclusives?
The Elder Scrolls
Arguably the most important franchise that Microsoft has gotten in this deal is The Elder Scrolls. It’s one of the most popular games in the world and since the series’ introduction in 1994 and MMORPG launch in 2014, it has sold over 59 million copies worldwide. The fantasy action role-playing game The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim has been going strong nearly 10 years after its launch with over 15 million active players recorded in 2020. Right now we still don’t know too much about The Elder Scrolls 6 since we were informed of its presence back at E3 2018 but we do know that the game is in active development. If it ends up being an Xbox Series X console exclusive, millions of Elder Scrolls fans will suddenly have a big reason to purchase an Xbox Series X.
The first Fallout was released way back in 1997 and is one of the definitive post-apocalyptic RPG games in the gaming universe. While the later Fallout 76 has been more of a hit rather than a miss. Fallout 2, Fallout 3, New Vegas and Fallout 4 (Game of the Year 2015) were all critically acclaimed. There’s no doubt there’s still a massive audience for this franchise, despite the shortcomings of 76. Now with Microsoft’s dual ownership of Bethesda and Obsidian, we could potentially also see the long-awaited Fallout: New Vegas 2.
Probably what Arkane Studios is best known for is the Dishonored series, one of the better stealth games out there. The first Dishonored title was acclaimed as one of the best action-adventure games of that year, back in 2012. Even snagging the 2013 BAFTA award for Best Game. However, its later sequels Dishonored 2 and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider failed to reach similar success. Personal opinion though – I really enjoyed Dishonored 2 and since Microsoft bought the whole franchise I think we can expect another sequel in the works.
The lesser-known franchise from Arkane is Prey. This particular franchise was stuck in development hell and went through a number of iterations before releasing. The somewhat BioShock concept of Prey ended up playing well but never hit the success that the first Dishonored game got. Whether it was due to resource management or production hiccups, Microsoft’s acquisition could see Prey make a comeback in a big way.
Another one of the gaming universe’s most iconic franchises now belong to Microsoft and that is DOOM. The DOOM franchise revolutionised the first-person shooter genre and goes down as one of gaming history’s most memorable games. I remember when classic Doom could be played on an MS-DOS system back in 1993. Now almost 30 years later its latest sequel Doom Eternal is one of the top-rated video games of 2020. This acquisition means will likely mean that Doom Eternal will end up on the Xbox Game Pass service sooner rather than later.
Right up there with DOOM in the genre-defying world of classic games is Quake. While the game hasn’t had as big of a comeback as Doom in recent years, there’s no denying its impact on the gaming world. Maybe now that Microsoft owns the IP there could be a resurgence for the Quake franchise to potentially return.