Xbox Game Studios: Everything we know Xbox and Bethesda are working on in 2022

Xbox Game Studios: Everything we know Xbox and Bethesda are working on in 2022

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Source: Microsoft

The Xbox first-party family is often referred to as Xbox Game Studios, but in truth, that’s only part of the myriad legion of developers making games for Xbox and PC. With Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the Xbox first-party development slate consists of two different publishers. With Microsoft’s continued investment into its first-party resources, this slate has continued to grow over the last few years.

With a new generation of consoles comes new games. We’ve rounded up a list of the studios across Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks, with every project we know they’re working on right now across Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC. Depending on how these projects turn out, the teams may end up creating some of the best Xbox games available.

What is Xbox Game Studios?

Xbox Game Studios

Source: Microsoft

Xbox Game Studios is the latest name for Microsoft’s internal first-party organization. Previously known as Microsoft Studios, Xbox Game Studios has changed over the years, with Microsoft investing much harder into gaming starting in 2018. In 2019, Matt Booty, leader of Microsoft Studios, confirmed that the team was going to be called Xbox Game Studios.

Microsoft also owns another publisher, Bethesda Softworks. This results in some confusion, as many people understandably assume these teams are included under Xbox Game Studios. In reality however, Bethesda Softworks continues to operate as a publisher alongside Xbox Game Studios. This will likely be the case for any other publishers Microsoft acquires in the future.

Xbox Game Studios: How many are there?

Xbox Game Studios Cropped 2022 Logo

Source: Microsoft

Xbox Game Studios consists of 15 studios worldwide. When combined with Bethesda Softworks, this makes for a total of 23 distinct first-party studios.

343 Industries

Located in: Redmond, Washington

Founded in 2007, 343 Industries was built by Microsoft to helm the Halo franchise after the departure of Bungie. With over 700 staff, 343 Industries handles new Halo and existing Halo games, comic books, novels, and more recently, the Halo TV show. The team has built games such as Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Halo 4, Halo 5: Guardians, Halo Wars 2, and Halo Infinite.

343 Industries manages the Slipspace engine, the latest evolution of the toolset used in mainline Halo titles.

The Coalition

Located in: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Originally known as Black Tusk Studios, this team was renamed The Coalition after Microsoft acquired the Gears of War IP. Games that the team has worked on include Gears of War 4 and Gears 5, as well as supporting the development of Gears Tactics and Halo Infinite.

The Coalition specializes in Unreal Engine technology, working closely with Unreal creator Epic Games to understand how the engine works. The Coalition was one of the first studios in the world to gain access to Unreal Engine 5.

Compulsion Games

Located in: Saint-Henri, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Founded in 2009 and acquired in 2018, Compulsion Games is a team known for working on admittedly strange games such as We Happy Few. Compulsion Games is growing to around 90 developers and is currently working on a new game, reportedly codenamed Midnight.

Double Fine Productions

Located in: San Francisco, California

Founded in 2000 and acquired in 2019, Double Fine Productions has worked on a truly massive number of games such Brutal Legend and Broken Age. In 2021, the team released Psychonauts 2, a critically acclaimed sequel to the original Psychonauts.

The Initiative

Located in: Santa Monica, California

Founded in 2018, The Initiative is a studio built from the ground up by Microsoft to lead development of major games. The studio is currently working on a reboot of Perfect Dark.

inXile Entertainment

Located in: Tustin, California, and New Orleans, Louisiana

Founded in 2002 and acquired in 2018, inXile Entertainment is known for making role-playing games, such as The Bard’s Tale and Wasteland franchises. The studio is currently working on a new IP.

Mojang Studios

Located in: Stockholm, Sweden

Acquired in 2014 for $2.5 billion, Mojang Studios manages the best-selling game in the world, Minecraft, with over 238 million copies sold. The studio employs 600 staff to manage Minecraft, with frequent updates adding new mobs and biomes to the game.

Ninja Theory

Located in: Cambridge, U.K.

Founded in March 2000 as Just Add Monsters, the group was re-established as Ninja Theory in 2004. The team has worked on a breadth of games such as Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Having grown to around 130 developers, Ninja Theory is currently working on Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II.

Obsidian Entertainment

Located in: Irvine, California

Founded in 2003 and acquired in 2018, Obsidian Entertainment has a long history of working on role-playing games, from Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords to Fallout: New Vegas, and the Pillars of Eternity franchise. Notably, despite having well over 200 developers, Obsidian operates in multiple teams, tackling simultaneous games such as Grounded, Avowed, and The Outer Worlds 2.

Reportedly, there are “early talks” for Obsidian to make a new Fallout game.

Playground Games

Located in: Leamington Spa, U.K.

Founded in 2010, Playground Games is best known for its work on the Forza Horizon franchise, an open-world arcade spinoff of Forza Motorsport. With two different studios, Playground Games is also recruiting heavily to grow to well over 400 developers, allowing the teams to work on a reboot of Fable, an action-RPG.

Playground Games also works closely with Turn 10 Studios on the ForzaTech engine, which powers the different Forza games and is also being used in the new Fable.

Rare

Located in: Twycross, U.K.

Founded in 1985, Rare is the oldest studio under Xbox Game Studios. Rare has a long history with Nintendo, having partnered with the Japanese publisher before being acquired by Microsoft in 2002. Rare has worked on countless games such as Battletoads, Conker, the original Perfect Dark, and more. More recently, Rare manages pirate simulator Sea of Thieves and is currently working on a new IP called Everwild.

Turn 10 Studios

Located in: Redmond, Washington.

Founded by Microsoft in 2001, Turn 10 Studios works on the Forza Motorsport franchise, a series of realistic simulation racing games. The team is currently developing Forza Motorsport, the eighth mainline game in the series.

Turn 10 Studios also maintains and improves the ForzaTech engine, working closely with Playground Games to ensure the engine meets the requirements of both studios.

Undead Labs

Located in: Seattle, Washington; Champaign, Illinois; Orlando, Florida

Founded in 2009 and acquired by Microsoft in 2018, Undead Labs manages the State of Decay zombie survival franchise. The team is currently working on State of Decay 3.

Undead Labs’ two support studios in Illinois and Florida also provide general support to the rest of the Xbox Game Studios family.

World’s Edge

Located in: Redmond, Washington

Founded by Microsoft in 2019, World’s Edge handles the Age of Empires series. The studio partners with developers around the world such as Relic Entertainment to develop various remasters and new titles. The studio is currently working on new content for Age of Empires 4.

Xbox Game Studios Global Publishing

Located in: Redmond, Washington

The publishing division at Xbox Game Studios is made up of numerous different teams. These teams then partner with third-party developers, providing resources, guidance, and technical support for these external developers to create Xbox titles.

More recently, Xbox Game Studios Global Publishing has established a cloud gaming division, which is working to create “cloud-native” games. The team is rumored to be partnering with Hideo Kojima and Kojima Productions on a game.

Bethesda Softworks: How many studios are there?

Xbox Bethesda Image

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft added this additional publisher to its roster in March 2021, when the deal for Microsoft to acquire ZeniMax Media was finalized, after initially being announced in September 2020 as a $7.5 billion deal. Bethesda Softworks consists of eight distinct studios worldwide. When combined with Xbox Game Studios, this makes for a total of 23 distinct first-party studios.

Alpha Dog Games

Located in: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Founded in 2012 and acquired by ZeniMax in 2019, Alpha Dog Games is a smaller team that makes mobile games such as Wraithborne.

Arkane Studios

Located in: Lyon, France, and Austin, Texas

Founded in 1999 and purchased by ZeniMax in 2010, Arkane is known as one of the last studios working on “immersive sim” titles, having created Dishonored and a reboot of Prey. Arkane’s two studios, Arkane Lyon and Arkane Austin, often work on different games. Arkane also provides support to other Bethesda titles. Currently, Arkane Austin is working on Redfall, which is slated to arrive in Summer 2022.

Bethesda Game Studios

Located in: Rockville, Maryland; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Austin, Texas; Dallas, Texas

Founded in 2001, Bethesda Game Studios is the developer behind The Elder Scrolls franchise, as well as having taken over the Fallout series with Fallout 3. Having grown to over 420 developers across four studios, Bethesda Game Studios is currently working on its first new IP in 20 years, a science-fiction game called Starfield. Starfield is currently scheduled to arrive on Nov. 11, 2022. Further out, Bethesda Game Studios is also working on The Elder Scrolls 6.

Bethesda is using the proprietary Creation Engine 2 starting with Starfield, a new version of the Creation Engine designed to support new features.

id Software

Located in: Richardson, Texas, and Frankfurt, Germany

Founded in 1991 and purchased by ZeniMax in 2009, id Software is known as one of the creators of the first-person shooter genre, having built franchises such as Wolfenstein, Quake, Rage, and DOOM. More recently, the team released Doom Eternal in 2020, which was followed up with story expansions through 2021.

id Software manages the proprietary id Tech 7 engine, which is recognized as an incredibly optimized engine for first-person games. id Software Frankfurt in Germany works as a support studio explicitly to maintain and improve this engine.

MachineGames

Located in: Uppsala, Sweden

Founded in 2009 and acquired in 2010, MachineGames helms a reboot of the Wolfenstein franchise. The team is also working with Bethesda Game Studios creative director Todd Howard on an Indiana Jones game.

MachineGames shares a close relationship with all of the European studios under ZeniMax, especially id Software, sharing notes and ideas on how to improve id Tech for the future.

Roundhouse Studios

Roundhouse Studios Logo

Source: Bethesda Softworks

Located in: Madison, Wisconsin

Roundhouse Studios has an odd history, originally being known as Human Head Studios. Working on games such as the 2007 Prey, Human Head Studios was closed in 2019, while ZeniMax hired the staff and created Roundhouse Studios. It’s currently unknown what the team is working on.

Tango Gameworks

Located in: Tokyo, Japan

Founded in 2010 and bought by ZeniMax the same year, Tango Gameworks is the lone Japanese studio under Microsoft. The team has worked on horror titles The Evil Within and The Evil Within 2. In 2022, the studio shipped Ghostwire: Tokyo, while confirming that other projects are underway.

ZeniMax Online Studios

Located in: Hunt Valley, Maryland and San Diego, California

Founded in 2007, ZeniMax Online Studios handles The Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG, shipping yearly content such as 2022’s High Isle expansion. The studio is also working on a new game and a new engine, establishing a support studio in San Diego to assist on this project.

Activision Blizzard

Xbox Activision Blizzard

Source: Microsoft

We haven’t listed out everything from Activision Blizzard because this deal technically hasn’t gone through yet. We will update accordingly based on the status of the acquisition in the months ahead. The deal is currently slated to close sometime in Microsoft’s fiscal year ending June 2023.

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