Bethesda Softworks and its parent company Zenimax Media are now officially a part of Microsoft, less than six months after the $7.5 billion proposed acquisition was announced. That means plans for “some new [Bethesda] titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players,” Microsoft announced this morning.
It’s still unclear how many Bethesda games will be exclusive to Microsoft’s platforms going forward or if those titles will come from the studio’s well-established franchises, like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, Prey, and the The Evil Within. But Microsoft says additional current Bethesda Softworks games will be coming to Xbox Game Pass later this week, joining current subscription offerings including Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls Online, Doom Eternal, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Dishonored 2, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 76.
Reading the tea leaves
In recent months, Microsoft had offered some broad hints that Bethesda would still continue to publish games on competing platforms from Sony and Nintendo (as Microsoft-owned Mojang continues to do with the Minecraft franchise). Microsoft CFO Tim Stuart said in November that he expected Bethesda games would launch “first or better or best” on Microsoft’s own gaming platforms and that the company doesn’t “have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise.”
Microsoft Xbox chief Phil Spencer had previously confirmed that Bethesda’s already-announced PS5 exclusives for 2021, Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, would still be releasing on Sony’s platforms as planned. Spencer also told Kotaku in October that the Bethesda acquisition “was not done to take games away from another player base” on other platforms. And Bethesda director Todd Howard told GamesIndustry.biz in October that it was “hard to imagine” The Elder Scrolls being exclusive to Microsoft platforms going forward.
In a retrospective video posted on Twitter this morning, Bethesda noted that a “new chapter has begun” and said it was committed to “staying true to the vision that inspired it all.” Microsoft said in a statement that the company feels it is “vitally important that Bethesda continues making games the way it always has. We look forward to empowering Bethesda’s creative teams to reach even more players around the world, helping make future Bethesda titles the biggest and most popular games in their history.”