Microsoft has been working extensively on its line-up of Xbox game studios over the past year. Before last year came to a close, it acquired Playground Games, Undead Labs, and Obsidian Entertainment. And this year, it added even more to its portfolio with Double Fine Productions.
But is it enough to oust Sony and its line-up of exclusive developers? A former Naughty Dog animator doesn’t seem to think so.
Jonathan Cooper, who previously worked on animation for Uncharted, The Last of Us and Assassin’s Creed, recently responded to a fan’s tweet regarding Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios. When the fan noted that five studio acquisitions felt like a “step in right direction” to compete with the likes of Sony, Cooper chose to respond.
“None of the purchased studios are at the same level as Sony 1st party, and will only get there with support and long-term hiring and financial support. I do prefer this route to creating entirely new studios that have no shared culture though.”
None of the purchased studios are at the same level as Sony 1st party, and will only get there with support and long-term hiring and financial support. I do prefer this route to creating entirely new studios that have no shared culture though.
— Jonathan Cooper (@GameAnim) December 16, 2019
On the one hand, supporting studios with funding and new hires is an excellent way to bolster them, so they can complete their vision. However, there is an argument about whether Microsoft’s studios are entirely on “the same level” as Sony.
Obsidian Entertainment is a prime example. It released The Outer Worlds back in October, which is being heralded as one of this year’s best games.
There’s also Ninja Theory. The developers are prepared to shake things up in 2020 with the multiplayer battle game Bleeding Edge before it puts all its attention on Hellblade II: Senua’s Saga. This sequel’s announcement recently made waves at the Game Awards, when it was announced with a beautiful, life-like trailer.
It comes down to a matter of perspective. Sony does have a lot of top-tier talent in its fold. The saying is particularly true for Insomniac Games, the developers of Marvel’s Spider-Man, who were acquired back in August.
But that doesn’t mean Microsoft should be sold so short. No doubt, this next-generation of consoles should have quite a story to tell from both companies’ studios.