Microsoft Studios acquires acclaimed RPG developers Obsidian Entertainment, inXile Entertainment

Developers Obsidian Entertainment (KOTOR II) and inXile Entertainment (Wasteland) have been acquired under the Microsoft Studios umbrella.

Back in October, there were reports that Microsoft was close to acquiring acclaimed RPG developer Obsidian Entertainment. Today at X018, it became official.

Microsoft announced that the studio behind hits like Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth and Pillars of Eternity has joined Microsoft Studios. Founded in 2003 in Irvine, California, Obsidian is famous for creating some of the greatest computer RPGs of all-time.

While the Pillars of Eternity series is perhaps best-known by the PC crowd, Xbox owners are probably more familiar with Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the sequel to BioWare’s critically-acclaimed Knights of the Old Republic RPG. Living up to BioWare’s original title was no easy feat, but KOTOR II was also met with favorable reviews upon its release for Xbox in 2004.

Adding a studio like Obsidian Entertainment is an amazing get for Microsoft Studios, but that’s not the only developer the company has added. Microsoft also announced the acquisition of inXile Entertainment, another studio best known for its PC and RPG expertise.

Formed by the legendary Brian Fargo in late 2002, inXile is responsible behind some of the industry’s greatest RPGs, including the Wasteland franchise.

The original Wasteland – an open-world, science fiction role-playing game – was developed by Fargo at his Interplay Productions studio under publisher Electronic Arts. Released in 1988, the game was both a critical and commercial success.

Fargo’s inXile Entertainment studio went on to release Wasteland 2 in 2014; but, the studio is also responsible for a number of other well-known RPGs, including Torment: Tides of Numenera and Bard’s Tale IV. They are also currently developing Wasteland 3, which is expected to release in 2019.

“It was important for us to find studio partners who have strong creative visions, a mastery of their medium and are expert world-builders,” said Microsoft Studios Corporate VP Matt Botty. “Obsidian and inXile embody all of these qualities while also bringing expertise on the PC platform and a unique RPG focus to the table.”

Now fans of these studios are probably concerned that by joining Microsoft, these developers might succumb to the pressures of a major publisher like Microsoft. Perhaps they’ll lose their identity and what makes them so special. Fear not, Microsoft assures, “They will continue to operate autonomously with their unique talents, IP and expertise.”

“As part of Microsoft Studios, Obsidian and inXile will have the support and freedom to fully realize their creative ambitions on both existing franchises and new RPG projects,” added Botty.

The addition of Obsidian and inXile comes on the heels of Microsoft announcing at E3 2018 the acquisition of five additional studios; Undead Labs (State of Decay), Playground Games (Forza Horizon),  Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Ninja Theory (Enslaved) and The Initiative are all under the Microsoft Studios banner now.

With so much talent and creativity now flowing through Microsoft Studios, the list of Xbox exclusive titles should finally grow. I know it’s only November, but it’ll be exciting to see what Microsoft and its studios have in store for us come E3 next June.