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Company News Obsidian reportedly about to be acquired by Microsoft

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Microsoft; Obsidian Entertainment; Private Division

    The rumor that Obsidian was seeking to be acquired by Microsoft has been floating around since August, when it was shared by a plugged-in user named Klobrille on the ResetEra forums. It was tempting to dismiss at first. Surely there was no way Microsoft were interested in a studio whose bankruptcy they had nearly caused back in 2012 with the cancellation of Stormlands. At best it was just another one of Feargus' zany schemes, doomed to go nowhere. Lately however it has seemed like things are happening at Obsidian. In recent weeks, we've learned of the departure of two long-time employees, Rich Taylor and Anthony Davis. Klobrille showed up on ResetEra again last week to announce that negotiations were ongoing and the odds of a deal had increased. Finally, today the story was picked up Kotaku's Jason Schreier, who reports that it's all but a sure thing. I quote:

    Microsoft is finalizing a deal to acquire the independent development studio Obsidian Entertainment, according to three people briefed on the negotiations. We don’t know if ink is on paper yet, and plenty of major acquisition deals have fallen apart in the final hours, but those close to the companies believe it is all but done.

    One person with knowledge of the deal told Kotaku they’d heard it was “90%” finished. Said a second person: “It’s a matter of when, not if.”

    Obsidian, best known for its work on critically acclaimed role-playing games like Knights of the Old Republic II (2004) and Fallout: New Vegas(2010), has been independent since it was founded in 2003. The Irvine, California-based studio has long been beloved by RPG fans, but has often faced financial strains, nearly going out of business in 2012 before it signed a deal for an online tank game and launched a Kickstarter for the isometric throwback that would become Pillars of Eternity.

    One compelling argument for the sale is that being owned by a company with deep pockets will offer Obsidian stability and resources the likes of which it has never had before.

    “We do not comment on rumors or speculation,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

    “Unfortunately, we don’t comment on rumors or speculation other than to say that the Rumors album by Fleetwood Mac still holds up,” said an Obsidian spokesperson.

    In late 2017, Obsidian announced that it was developing a new RPG that would be published by Private Division, a label of 2K Games designed to fund mid-sized games. The companies did not say anything about which consoles the RPG will be available on, and it’s not clear how this sale will affect that game. One option is for Microsoft to buy out the contract; another is for Microsoft to simply inherit it, allowing Obsidian to tie up its loose ends as part of the acquisition.

    “While it is our policy not to comment on rumors or speculation, we look forward to publishing the upcoming RPG from Obsidian Entertainment, and remain confident in the team there to deliver an outstanding game,” said a representative for Private Division.

    This would be a huge move for the company behind Xbox, which has been on a shopping spree this year, snapping up four game studios including Playground (Forza Horizon) and Ninja Theory (Hellblade). Its most recent notable game studio purchase before that was Mojang, the maker of Minecraft. Microsoft has kept Minecraft multiplatform, even enabling cross-play between Switch and Xbox One players, but console makers usually buy studios with the intent for those studios to make games for their consoles, not the competition. Microsoft’s biggest weakness this generation has been its stable of first-party developers, and with Obsidian, the company now has an RPG-focused studio that can help it compete against the PlayStation’s strong lineup.

    A person familiar with goings-on at Microsoft said the company has been looking to bolster its PC development, which makes the PC-focused Obsidian a perfect fit.

    Obsidian and Microsoft have a checkered history. Before the release of the Xbox One, Obsidian was working on an Xbox-exclusive role-playing game, published by Microsoft, called Stormlands. Tense disagreements between the two companies led Microsoft to cancel the game in 2012, and to some involved it was hard to imagine the pair working together again. The Xbox department is under different leadership now, however, with Phil Spencer taking the top role in early 2014. And the move appears to make sense for both parties.
    So, is this the end of Obsidian as we know it? I think the crucial question is, for what purpose is Microsoft acquiring Obsidian? Will they become another console-centric blockbuster action-RPG developer, or will they be allowed to assume a more niche role within Microsoft, similar to the position of Firaxis Games within Take-Two Interactive? Speaking of Take-Two, one thing I'd be skeptical of is the idea that this acquisition will harm the development of Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky's game. Getting the original creators of Fallout on their payroll must be a big draw for Microsoft, so they wouldn't want to do anything to drive them out. The statement in Kotaku's article makes it sound like Take-Two are going to be publishing the game no matter what happens. We should probably hope that they do, since it reduces the odds that it'll be a Windows 10 Store exclusive or something awful like that. That leaves us with one final question, though - what's going to happen to Josh Sawyer?
     
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  2. Don Peste Arcane

    Don Peste
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    Sorry repost
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Wild Slop Arcane

    Wild Slop
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    Let jokes on the changing of offensive wording on Obsidian's tombstone commence.
     
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  4. SausageInYourFace Arcane Patron

    SausageInYourFace
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    Josh-senpai will create glorious turn-based historical RPG. It is his destiny.
     
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  5. Think big! Smoking Dicks

    Think big!
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    If this puts Feargus on the out, it's a good thing.
     
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  6. Fenix Cipher Vatnik

    Fenix
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    Yeah, so this is true...
    I hope it will help them make that Cainarsky game to be better and such...

    Otherwise I'm not interested in them, because we all know who is the KING today.
    Or will be. After 6 monthes of extensive patching!
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  7. mindx2 Codex Roaming East Coast Reporter Patron

    mindx2
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    Codex 2012 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    Perhaps Feargus pushed negotiated an exit for Chris Avellone to reduce the Microsoft "money pie" to be split between owners...?

    :hmmm:
     
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  8. Fenix Cipher Vatnik

    Fenix
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    Also, I think we can truthfully say this is the end of the Obsidian era...
     
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  9. DarkArcher Educated

    DarkArcher
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    So who is going to make PC RPG's now?

    Does that mean nobody will bother with Pillars of Eternity III because it won't sell enough units?

    They'll probably shift to making a big open world game like they keep saying they could do if they had the money to compete with Fallout/Elder Scrolls.
     
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  10. hexer Arcane

    hexer
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    What will become of Obsidian?
    Mike Oldfield has the answer

     
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  11. Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd Arcane Patron

    Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd
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    Let us look at current Obsidian and be honest. It is already not Obsidian as we knew it.

    So nothing of value is going to be lost.
     
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  12. Bohr Erudite

    Bohr
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    They're already preparing the ground for his next project :salute:

     
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  13. Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd Arcane Patron

    Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd
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    As for Josh Sawyer… well, as Josh Sawyer does, he will continue to "balance" all fun out of games.
     
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  14. The Vanished One Prophet

    The Vanished One
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    Owners, owners never change.

    Also:

     
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  15. Western Arcane Patron

    Western
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    Codex 2012 Codex 2014 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    images (9).jpeg

    Sounds like good news, with any luck we can add Obsidian onto the pile, their best work is far behind them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  16. naossano Cipher

    naossano
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    I would have prefered if they got bought by Take Two or CDR Project.
     
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  17. LizardWizard Savant

    LizardWizard
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    Fire Fergy and promote this beautiful man

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Tweed Educated

    Tweed
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    I wish I could feel upset about this.
     
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  19. CRD Learned Patron

    CRD
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    Divinity: Original Sin 2
    so, they probably will be forced to make simplistic third person arpg's only.

    70% sad day 30% hopes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  20. mustawd. Magister

    mustawd.
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    Wot...

    Why would you assume that?

    Honestly, I don’t see why Microsoft would want to acquire Obsidian other than the PoE IP and the fact that it has a core team in place they can pump resources into so they can make console rpgs.

    I doubt they give two shits about Lenny and Timmy.
     
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  21. karnak Arcane Patron

    karnak
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Most likely Obsidian will follow the path of old Origin.
    Maybe PoE III will be full 3D, with lots of platforms for characters to jump on, plenty of cosmetic add-ons and a loot box or two.

     
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  22. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    The Outer Worlds IP belongs to Obsidian and most of the company's employees are now working on it. If you buy Obsidian today, you're doing it to release Tim and Leonard's game, not for that last PoE2 DLC.
     
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  23. himmy Arcane

    himmy
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    Eh, it's pretty clear that the PoE franchise wasn't enough of a success to let them be that mid-sized indie company they wanted to be, so this might not be the worst thing in the world. Between the idea of Obsidian continuing to hemorrhage talent while slowly dying and Obsidian being in the position where they could create some decent mass-market action RPGs, I'll take the latter.

    That is, of course the optimist in me speaking. Hopefully it won't end up as the inhouse producer of some next-gen-XBOX-exclusive shovelware.
     
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  24. Glaucon Savant

    Glaucon
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    coded confirmation
     
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  25. Ivan Arcane

    Ivan
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    :mca:
     
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