Bethesda may be making arrangements for a press event in the next couple of weeks, in order to illuminate the status of its prime properties - Starfield and The Elder Scrolls - following its acquisition by Microsoft.
If you were a games or tech journalist on the 21st of September, 2020, you'll remember that day with crystal clarity. Who's done what? Microsoft purchased ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. For how much money? $7.5 billion, which works out to be three times the amount that Microsoft paid for Mojang in 2014. And how does that affect the games in development at these studios? Um. That's a tricky one. Let's hold off for a few months. The dust will settle and it will become clear.
So, a few months have passed, and we're not 100% certain on the status of games from Bethesda's catalogue. Microsoft has stated that it will honor the arrangements in place for titles like Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo, and that live service games like The Elder Scrolls Online and Fallout 76 will continue to be supported across platforms. However, it's not been obvious where Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI stand. Todd Howard, the big cheese at Bethesda, has hedged the question a number of times, saying that it would be "hard to imagine" these games being exclusives. On the other hand, Microsoft vice president of gaming Phil Spencer balked at the prospect of a PS5 without Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI. "This deal was not done to take games away from another player base like that," he explained. "Nowhere in the documentation that we put together was: 'How do we keep other players from playing these ?' We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games."
The nebulous nature of these answers is likely due to the fact that the ins and outs of the acquisition weren't finalised at this point. However, news emerges that Microsoft is outlining some sort of event to inform the industry of its intentions for Bethesda and its upcoming releases. Jeff Grubb (the person that leaked the Mass Effect remasters) revealed that "Microsoft's E3 and Bethesda's E3 could actually still be separate," and that "once the deal closes they will talk about it in a big way." Whatever the format of the announcement is, Grubb asserted that the two companies will "talk about it extensively and explain what it means to everybody and kind of talk about the immediate future." Evidently, this hasn't been disclosed by Microsoft nor Bethesda, but we'll keep you in the loop when we know more.
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