X018: Microsoft rolls for initiative, acquires Obsidian and inXile

As part of its ongoing studio shopping spree, the publisher has announced its purchase of two RPG developers – Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity series developer Obsidian Entertainment (not exactly unexpected), and Torment: Tides of Numenera and Wasteland developer inXile Entertainment (very much unexpected). Both developers will continue to work somewhat autonomously, and presumably not as part of Microsoft’s first-party initiative… The Initiative, but somebody please appreciate the bad clever pun in the headline anyway.

Obsidian and inXile join other recent procurements to Microsoft’s first-party inventory, including Undead Labs (State of Decay), Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice), and Playground Games (Forza Horizon), bringing with them some serious RPG credentials.

Founded in 2003 by ex-Black Isle Studios (Baldur’s Gate, Fallout) employees Feargus Urquhart, Chris Avellone, Chris Parker, Darren Monahan, and Chris Jones, Obsidian Entertainment was actually hired by Microsoft sometime close to the end of the previous console generation to develop MMORPG Stormlands, originally scheduled to launch with the Xbox One. The project was cancelled in 2012, however, and Avellone exited the company in 2015. Besides Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity, Obsidian’s résumé also features Alpha Protocol, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and Skyforge.

Obsidian also has links with inXile, if somewhat tenuously. Black Isle Studios was a division of publisher and developer Interplay Entertainment, which went bankrupt and closed in 2003. Interplay Entertainment was co-founded by Brian Fargo – and the same guy is now the boss at inXile. While continuing work on Wasteland 3, the developer also launched The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrow’s Deep in September.

So, expect the Xbox-Next exclusive Fallout: Baldur’s Wasteland? You read it here first, and probably also last.

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