With Microsoft set to buy ZeniMax Media for a cool $7.5 billion, we thought we'd let our imaginations run riot.
Yesterday, just in time for Xbox Series X pre-orders no less, Microsoft dropped the momentous news that ZeniMax Media was joining the Xbox Game Studios family. The platform holder has been busy of late, adding a series of prominent developers to its collection of first-party studios, but none of the company's previous moves - including the acquisition of Minecraft-makers Mojang - come close to this.
Once the regulatory process is complete Microsoft will have access to Alpha Dog, Arkane, Bethesda, id Software, Machine Games, Roundhouse Games, Tango Gameworks, and Zenimax Online Studios. That list is impressive enough on its own, but when you look at it in terms of games, it becomes all the more impressive. The Elder Scrolls. Doom and Quake. Fallout. Wolfenstein. Dishonored and Prey. In one fell swoop, Phil Spencer and his team at Xbox have bolstered their first-party line-up with some of the biggest IPs in the business, and if Microsoft intends on continuing the trend of stocking up the Game Pass with all of its owned current-gen titles, a bunch of stellar games will be added to the subscription service in due course.
It's an exciting time to be an Xbox fan, make no mistake, and much like many of you, we spent the evening daydreaming about what could happen now that these top tier brands and developers are now in the hands of Microsoft. That being the case, we dreamt up a list of unlikely collaborations between existing Xbox studios and IPs and those from Bethesda to create a ridiculous wishlist that we're sure will mostly never see the light of day. And so, in no particular order, here are a bunch of games that we'd love to see but will likely never get made.
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Obsidian returns to Fallout to make New Vegas 2
Let's start with the obvious one, shall we? The first New Vegas dropped back in 2010, and while it was a buggy mess, it's also ended up being a true cult classic. Fans have long been asking for an Obsidian-authored sequel but it never materialised. Now, however, with both Obsidian and the Fallout IP under the same Xbox-emblazoned banner, what's to stop the oft-requested sequel from happening? Absolutely nothing, that's what.
Halo by id Software
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Halo games have their own distinctive pace and feel, and Microsoft has 343 Industries working on Halo Infinite (and, more generally, all things Halo) so there's really no reason why you would put id Software, the architects of DOOM, on a new Halo game. But, just for one moment, imagine the carnage as Chief hopped through hordes of Covenant and Flood enemies, utilising his arsenal of weapons to dispatch his alien opponents as violently as possible. John 117 is often called a "demon" by his enemies in Halo, and last we checked, id was the authority on that particular subject.
Arkane goes Perfect Dark
Of course, there's already a bunch of rumours that a Perfect Dark reboot (or something along those lines) is in the works at The Initiative, however, for this article that sort of speculation simply isn't wild enough. Instead, we want to think about an Arkane-crafted Perfect Dark, with high tech gadgets, intense stealth sequences, and explosive, razor-sharp action. It has been too long since Joanna Dark last appeared on our screens, and she may well be en route anyway, but if we were to pick one studio for a job like this, Arkane would be right at the top of our list.
The Xbox MOBA that nobody would play
The MOBA ship has long set sail and nobody is going to invest the money required to take on League of Legends and Dota 2 at this point; if Blizzard can't crack that market with Heroes of the Storm, it's probably not going to happen for anyone else. Yet... if there's one outfit with a wealth of characterful IPs that could serve up heroes enough to justify a new MOBA, the new-look Xbox Game Studios family would be it.
Quake Champions meets Halo and Gears
We had a similar thought about hero shooters, and then we remembered that Microsoft had just bought one. With the acquisition of id Software, the company has bagged Quake Champions, the free-to-play hero shooter built around frags, rocket jumps and lightning-fast first-person shooter gameplay. Master Chief and the Gears gang would be a great fit, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Doom Guy and friends get some Killer Instinct
Let's face it, Bethesda has a whole bunch of characters from its catalogue that would fit like a glove within ultra-violent brawler Killer Instinct. Doom Guy and B.J. Blazkowicz would feel right at home slinging punches against dinosaurs, werewolves, and sword-wielding skeletons. Rash from Battletoads was an outside character that was able to make way his way into the game, so it's entirely possible we'll see more that in the future, right?
The Halo RPG That Nobody Asked For
How about an RPG set in the Halo universe? Yeah, it's probably a terrible idea, but imagine roaming around in a futuristic sandbox filled with familiar faces from the Halo universe, chatting with traders, picking locks, and upgrading your Mjolnir armour over time. One might argue that this seems to be the direction that the series is going anyway, but we're dreaming about a more characterful game with proper dialogue options and choice-based gameplay, a long distance away from the shoot first think later approach of the series as it currently stands.
A Minecraft RPG - Fallout Adventures
Going the other direction, we reckon that the Mojang gang could make a great RPG with a Fallout-themed setting. In fact, given the number of character and skin packs out there for Minecraft, this is one of the silly ideas herein that's semi-likely to happen, at least in some capacity. Minecraft is a great platform for crossover content and thanks to this monster deal, there's a wealth of potential avenues of exploration on that front now - and we expect MS to explore as many of them as they can.
Doom Tactics or Doom Wars - We Can't Decide
A Doom game with a tactical element similar to what we've just seen with Gears Tactics, or a real-time strategy title in a similar vein to Halo Wars 2 - we can't decide which one we'd like to see more and there's a good case to make for both approaches. Either way, we'd love to battle hellspawn on a more tactical level, and both real-time and tactical battles would be fascinating.
Inxile takes Fallout back to its isometric roots
Once upon a time, Fallout was an isometric RPG. It was also the spiritual successor to Wasteland. Inxile, the studio that made Wasteland 2 and 3 and is now owned by MS, formed in 2002 out of the ashes of Interplay, who made the original Wasteland and the first two Fallout games. See where we're going with this? Now, we're not for a second suggesting that there should be a new isometric Fallout game instead of the standard first-person offerings, but surely there's room for a traditional Fallout game to exist alongside it? If MS decided to go in that direction, they just happen to have the perfect people for the job...
The Forza series certainly hasn't been afraid to get weird in the past with both Lego and Hot Wheels cars making appearances in previous titles in the series. To celebrate the acquisition of Bethesda, we would love to see vehicles and racecourses inspired by Rage's post-apocalyptic world. There's plenty to choose here, from the iconic Pheonix through to monster trucks and tanks like the Booma. We've seen a Warthog (Halo) in Forza before, so we know it can be done!
Age of Tamriel
The Age of Empires series will soon come full circle. All three of the numbered games have been updated and only Age of Mythology remains. Yet once that process has run its course, the strategy specialists at World's Edge will have to find something to keep themselves busy. Lucky for them, we've got a perfect solution: there are thousands of years of history to explore in the fantasy world of Tamriel, and The Elder Scrolls series offers a wealth of different factions to choose from. That alone would give the studio and any collaborators plenty to work with, and we think an expansive strategy game set in Bethesda's fantasy world could be oodles of fun.
Machine Games grinds some Gears
And finally, we'd love to see Machine Games take a break from Wolfenstein and give us a first-person shooter set in the Gears universe because... why not?! If there's one studio out there that makes shooters as ripped as the ones that come out of The Coalition, it's Machine Games. We reckon that ditching the cover-based approach for a faster, first-person adventure could change up the dynamic and breathe new life into the series. Also, we'd love to see what the studio would do with all those chainsaw takedowns. Brm-brm-brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...
Can you think of an even crazier suggestion? Share your wildest video game crossover dreams in the comments below!