Bethesda x Xbox

Predicting which Bethesda games will be Xbox exclusive

Microsoft’s plans for the future of its consoles might make exclusivity a moot point.

$7.5B

The amount of money Microsoft spent on ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks.

As of this writing, the deal to bring Bethesda Game Studios, MachineGames, id Software and several other major developers under Xbox Game Studios has just finalized, and there’s only one question on gamers’ minds:

Am I going to need an Xbox to play these games?

Microsoft

“With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players.”

Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer

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This quote makes it seem like Xbox will be making Bethesda titles exclusive on a case-by-case basis, but how will they be deciding which games remain locked on the platform and which get ported to more consoles?

Here are our predictions based Xbox’s trajectory over the last few years.

Microsoft

‘DeathLoop’ and ‘GhostWire: Tokyo’

In an ironic twist of fate, the next two games to release from the publisher were signed to PlayStation as timed exclusives before the deal between Xbox and Bethesda was even announced.

There are no official specifics on how long these games might be exclusive on the PS5, but afterward, the games will come to Xbox in addition to launching as a part of Game Pass, available to those subscribers for no additional cost.

It’s extremely unlikely that Microsoft will then remove the games from the PS Store. Taking them off would be more of a Nintendo move.

Tango Gameworks

Indiana Jones

Wolfenstein developer MachineGames announced in late 2020 that it would be working on a video game adaptation of Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones.

Since no expectations have been set with prior entries on other consoles, we expect this to be an exclusive for Xbox.

However, there would be another, more brazen reason to keep the Indiana Jones project locked to Xbox.

Uncharted, a game series heavily influenced by the adventurous archeologist, kicked off the PlayStation’s dominance with first-party games. It would be fitting if this title did the same for Xbox.

The Next Doom, Dishonored, Wolfenstein, Prey, and The Evil Within

The sequels to all these established franchises, which have been multi-platform up until this point, are more likely to remain on competing consoles than not, although it’s not certain all of these games are even happening.

While none of these games have been confirmed, it’s a near guarantee that there will be new Doom and Wolfenstein games after the critical and commercial acclaim the series’ two most recent entries obtained.

Sequels to Prey, Dishonored 2, and The Evil Within 2 are a little more dubious. While those games were received well by critics, it seems that sales numbers for the titles were disappointing.

id Software

The developers of these games, Arkane Studios and Tango Gameworks, are also currently busy with developing Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo respectively. It stands to reason that, as long as those two new IPs succeed, they will inspire subsequent releases that keep the studios from needing to return to their older, less successful franchises.

Starfield

The next game from Bethesda Game Studios, the developers of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, is a sci-fi RPG.

Like Indiana Jones, this being the first in the franchise makes it much easier for Xbox to justify exclusivity.

Putting Starfield on other consoles would also leave players unprepared for the publisher’s next decision...

‘The Elder Scrolls VI’ and Beyond

Keeping Starfield as an exclusive sets the expectation that Bethesda Game Studios will develop titles exclusively for Xbox’s platform, but by the time the game releases, that’s going to mean something completely different to what it does today.

Xbox has made it clear that it views its cloud gaming platform as much of a pillar to its success as any one console.

That service will likely be much more robust at the launch of the next Elder Scrolls than it is today, offering true console-quality experiences on even more devices.

Exclusivity won’t be nearly as big a factor to the consumer as it is today, because you won’t need a multi-hundred dollar console or PC to play these games.

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Of course, this is all speculation, but it’s as best a reading of the gaming tea leaves as we can make with all the information we have presented at the time. We look forward to being proven wrong when The Elder Scrolls VI comes to the Nintendo Switch Pro.

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