Where Microsofts Game Studios stand and what do they need to do next?

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by invictis, Apr 19, 2020.

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  1. invictis

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    This is obviously my opinion, but I'm interested to see if others think the same as me, or if I'm an outlier

    Currently I think that Turn 10 is the equal of Polyphony with regards to racing sims (Forza vs GT). I think both games are in the same league, and while some people my prefer one over the other, both present a AAA racing sim.
    Forza Horizon is the best racing game currently, and together with Forza it puts MS ahead in the car racing genre.

    Without a doubt MS has the upper hand with RPGs with the likes of Obsidien, InXile and Playgrounds second studio all going to be putting out classic RPG fodder.

    MS has shooters covered with Gears and Halo. Outside of Killzone, Sony really doesnt have a ton of these types of games, so MS deff has shooters covered.
    Interesting to note that these two franchises also have RTS covered as well. RTS isn't something Sony really has at all.

    Double Fine, Rare and Compulsion have that cartoony, platformer and kooky genre covered. Call them Gamepass fillers if you want, but they give an air of difference and provide some diversity away from shooters and RPGs.

    That leaves Ninja Theory and The Inititive to give us those amazing looking third person story driven adventure games. This is the area in which Sony trounce MS. Those amazing looking games like Ghosts, GOW, HZD, Spiderman, Uncharted and TLOU are what separates Sony from the rest.

    I think MS needs a couple more developers who can deliver these AAA games.
    That brings me to potential studio buy outs that cover that area, that are a real possibility of happening.

    First studio for me would be Asobo Studios.
    They have a good history with MS, and are currently working on the mega Flight Simulator game for them, which looks amazing and shows Asobos chops with regards to making beautiful graphics.
    But even more than Flight, Asobo showed with A Plagues Tale that they are capable of delivering an amazing looking third person adventure game with an excellent story, and all done by a smaller studio. This is the type of studio MS would jump at. Smaller, talented and the potential for them to smash it out of the park with the extra money and resources they would get from MS is there. They smell alot like Ninja Theory to me.

    The other studio would be People Can Fly. PCF have survived by farming themselves out to contract work for other studios, and along the way have worked with Microsoft on Gears Of War. Given the ability to concentrate on creating their own IP and developing it with all of MSs resources should allow them to produce a AAA game that MS needs to match Sony in that area. They wouldnt cost the earth, and with them being situated in Poland they would be able to attract some of the real talented devs from some of the other top Polish studios like Projekt.

    Now if I was to just throw out my wish list it would also include 4A Games and Techland.

    Thats my opinion of where MS is at, so it would be interesting to see if people agree or not.
     
  2. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    MS studios tend to suffer with being stuck with trying ot cater to what got them famous in the first place, and trying to move forward with games and gameplay. Too often I find (except for the indie scene) they're too afraid to truly let go of that core vocal group of people that won't move on, and try to cater to them and in doing so alienate any desire for new people to play their games.

    Halo, Gears and Forza all have really old design. There's nothing new there. Those specific communities have moved on entirely. There is still a strong vocal crowd asking for no sprint, no clamber, no movement options in Halo. It's like they don't want to ever leave Halo 1-3. Even Halo Infinite's art style is going backwards. That's not going to fly, new age FPS are in a completely different zone now.

    Honestly, at this point in time, i think what's best for MS, is to drop the old shit. Flip the bird to the people that can't move on, and focus on getting new players. Because the only players playing Halo, Gears, Forza, have been playing since OG Xbox. But those are the players were like 15-25 when they first started playing. They gotta catch that audience again. MS continue to try to compete in the hardest markets; which is multiplayer hoping that they can score something big like they did in the past.

    it's not going to happen. The focus around esports, the focus around MP, it's takes balls to take over there and they don't have the balls to let go of their core audience to win it.
     
    #2 iroboto, Apr 19, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
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  3. invictis

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    343i and The Coalition are both big studios. They could work on a new IP and release Halo and Gears every second game, rather than every game they make. If Ninja Theory can be working on three games at the same time (Hellblade 2, Bleeding Edge and Mara) then there is no reason why those other two studios can t either.
    MS buys the rights to Black, and they give it to 343i to do a take on it.
    They buy Alan Wake IP and give it to The Coalition to do a version of.
    If you look at both Sony and MS stable of studios, there isnt much between them with regards to man power and resources. So just like Naughty Dog was working on Uncharted, they were also working on TLOU.
    Hey, I still live racing car games, and so for me Forza rocks. If Forza is getting old then what does that say about GT? They are both in the same boat, and there is enough car racing fans that they eat those games up. And actually, Turn 10 did exactly what you said they should do, they helped work on Forza Horizons which gave us the best racing game on any platform.
    Halo and Gears are both over done, and I agree that these studios need new IPs.
     
  4. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    racing will be the same. Not sure what they can do but improve career play and MP play. There is a large difference between MS studios and Sony studios. Sony is just willing to fund games forever from certain studios they have nearly unlimited support.

    there is no point in bringing back old IPs.
    If you want to create excitement; you need new stuff. It’s just the way it is. The Xbox population is aging. They need games to target youth again.
     
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  5. PSman1700

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    Well, for sure they are improving. Xone/2013 console wasn't all that much gaming focussed from the beginning. They lately have been aquiring studios left and right. With HellBlade 2 they seem to be going the direction sony also went, high budget AAA amazeballs graphics titles.

    Another thing not to forget, more and more 3rd party studios are actually approaching, matching, and even surpassing 1st party studios as of late. Look at RDR2, Doom Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077, Control, and even detroit become human (not a 1st party owned studio either, just timed excl) to name a few.
    This trend wont decline in the future.

    But yes, regarding MS and their games, they sure have a better stance in 2020 then they had in 2013. It's mainly their focus that's the most important, what they want to achieve. With the resources they have, i see no dark future so far. Regarding your sony examples yes true its basically only 3rd person games to advantage, where MS seem to be betting on now too.
     
  6. Devious

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    If 343i continue to remain a Halo studio, then I say after Master Chief's story has been completed with Infinite, start with a different take to Halo. We've already had one with Halo Wars. Maybe third person? Survival horror-ish? Play through the eyes of a scared, lowly Marine witnessing The Covenant destroy cities and kill people. Bungie somewhat tried to mix it up by having you play as an ODST. But it really wasn't much of a change from playing as a regular Spartan. I want the sense of claustrophobia, helplessness, and the feeling of the entire Covenant invasion just being one huge cluster-fuck for civilians and regular Marines with no Spartan help. I don't know lol. Just me spit-balling ideas.

    Of course another answer would be for 343i and TC to take a break from the Halo and Gears franchise completely and make something entirely new. But I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.
     
  7. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    It would certainly be more interesting. Master Chief has saved the universe 3X times now with nothing more than hand weapons. I think we can stop with the power fantasy and move onto other things.
     
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  8. TheAlSpark

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    Save the universe with a spatula as Master Chef?
     
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  9. iroboto

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    Bare fists power fantasy.
     
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  10. Silent_Buddha

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    I'd argue that the reason people have moved away from Halo is that 343i moved Halo away from them. IE - changing Halo too much is what alienated most people from the Halo franchise. As long as the series was following its roots and continuing with the gameplay and storytelling styles that made it such a large hit, the franchise was growing. As soon as they changed things...just to change things, people fled the series.

    You can see the same thing happen with COD. Deviation from what people want out of COD led to COD going down in sales to the point that people thought maybe COD was finally going to die. But, going back to the principles and gameplay that made COD so popular in the first place has seen a massive resurgence in its popularity.

    If we look at one of my favorite game IPs. The quirky Overload series went from really good to really bad with the 3rd titles in the series because they tried to change things up to appeal to more people. Except it had the exact opposite effect by alienating the people that liked it and not gaining new people because the resulting game sucked due to the changes.

    Sometimes change is good, sometimes it isn't. Halo from the first game to Reach changed things in subtle ways. ODST standing out as something more different...which also ended up selling worse. Bungie understood what made a good Halo game and stuck with it.

    343i decided to change things. But they did not understand what makes a good Halo game and thus all their changes to the game and how it told its story meant that many Halo fans abandoned the series.

    Can't read too much into Forza as racing games as a genre has been in decline WRT to player spending for almost 2 decades now.

    Gears is also interesting to look at. With Gears 5, the best parts of the game are those that stick to the Gears formula that people are familiar with. The worst parts of Gears 5 are the parts where they decided to try new things.

    Basically don't change things that people want in the IPs that they love. Instead, what MS should allow their studios to do is to occasionally release different IP. Something like Naughty Dog being allowed to make TLOU even though they had the successful Uncharted IP.

    If MS had allowed Bungie to work on another IP other than Halo sometimes, maybe Bungie wouldn't have wanted independence.

    I'd like to think that if Phil Spencer had been in charge back then that he would have allowed Bungie to make a new IP. But we'll never know.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  11. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Destined formula for Games of mediocrity then. If you take Halo 1-3 remake it all; it’s not going to set the world on fire.

    Games and design are changing all the time. The number one MP game is in closed beta and it’s basically Counter Strike Meets Overwatch.
    MOBAs largely replaced competitive RTS genres. And BR and similar have largely over taken arena style gameplay.

    If you want to keep with arena; you need to innovate something in arena. Even as crap as Destiny is; there are likely way more crucible players than Halo players.

    you gotta take risks, everything in Halo is so sterile; maps are 100% balanced. Nothing is asymmetrical; sounds like a eSports dream but it ends up not being. Weapons are sterile; the abilities are abysmal.

    nothing wring with that but it’s not
    Going to get GOTY nominations.

    the whole point of first party games is to
    Be able to take risks that 3P cannot.
     
  12. BRiT

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    I wish we could get back to this aspect of first party games.
     
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  13. chris1515

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    If MS has allowd Bungie to be try a new IP, Destiny would have been an Xbox exclusive, one of the biggest success of the gen. It would have help Xbox a lot.
     
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  14. TheAlSpark

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    It's too bad we didn't get Halo Megabloks in between Halo 5 and Infinite.

    Would have liked to see a Platinum Games take on Halo - Ninja Sparten. Build off of the Halo Legends ideas. Multiple gameplay genres within.

    Gears x Alien Isolation would have been more interesting to me than Gears 5 Escape Mode.

    Does Sea of Thieves feature World Event Boss fights (ala MMO) ? Add a winter environment somewhere on the map to change things up a little.

    Forza Horizon could maybe use more of those big crazy race events than the standard race laps.

    ---

    We'll have to wait and see what the rest of their newly purchased studios come up with.
     
    #14 TheAlSpark, Apr 19, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
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  15. Silent_Buddha

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    You see mediocrity, I see games with timeless and great gameplay with a story that isn't in your face constantly taking control away from you. A difference of opinion, obviously.

    I'm all for discovering new great games, but that doesn't have to come at the cost of discarding games with gameplay that is already great.

    That's like saying I should stop eating lasagna and move on because my lasagna recipe hasn't changed in the past 30 years. If it was great then and I liked it, chances are it's still great now and I'll still like it.

    Overlord is still fun. I still play it every few years because the gameplay and story are so engaging. I wish they would make more games like the first one. Overlord 2 was good but not as good as the first one because they changed things. Overlord 3 changed even more things, sold like ass and the publisher concluded that noone wanted to play a game like Overlord.

    NO! They stopped buying the games in that IP because they changed the gameplay. There still hasn't been a game that does Overlord's gameplay style as well as Overlord did it.

    I still play the original Deus Ex because the gameplay is soo good. They changed the gameplay in Deus Ex 2 and it sucked donkey balls. They revived Deus Ex with the modern series and while good they still aren't remotely as good as the original.

    So basically by changing the gameplay formula they made great games into mediocre games. The exact opposite of your assertion. :)

    Of course this doesn't mean you can't change things for the better, but if the changes aren't well thought out and handled well they'll do far FAR more harm than good.

    And just to throw in one last example. The Dawn of War RTS IP. 1st game was fantastic. 2nd game changed things and it was great in it's own way but not as good of an RTS. 3rd game they changed things even more and now it's a dead IP. Where if they had just stuck with the gameplay from the first game, people that like RTS games would still be buying and playing games in that IP.

    I'm extremely bitter about that last one because that had been one of my favorite IPs. I sunk hundreds and hundreds of hours into the first one. About half that into the second one because it wasn't as good as the first. And wish I had never purchased the 3rd one.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  16. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    I’m not suggesting that. But Doom remakes including Eternal isn’t Doom; but it still has the same major design elements from a super old game. I’m not suggesting all the titles need to go narrative; but being stuck in no mans land doesn’t help either. Doom never had sprint or melee, or clamber, or level ups either. No one complaining about doom but everyone is certainly complaining about sprint and clamber.

    FF7 remake is FF7 but at the same time it’s a completely different game. If they kept the battle system and everything th a same with update graphics people would have tuned out.
    You can still make the same game. There are different ways to do it. Staying the same because you’re afraid of alienating your player base while struggling to innovate far enough is worse for both populations imo.
     
    #16 iroboto, Apr 19, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
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  17. Scott_Arm

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    Sony is good in releasing new IPs each gen that people enjoy. Microsoft has as well with Sea of Thieves being a surprising hit, but they’ve struggled with the big single player games. Naughty Dog will probably start a new IP soon, but Microsoft will just keep on cranking out Halo and Gears. Coalition should stop making Gears after the new trilogy is concluded. Halo should probably die and only continue as the master chief collection with good remasters. I wouldn’t mind seeing a new Fable because they didn’t do one this gen, but it can’t just be all about Series we’ve seen before. Hellblade 2 will be great but even it’s a sequel. Ninja Theory’s next narrative game should be something new. The new studios need to do some big things. I’d say the small studios are doing well and providing some variety across genres, even if they aren’t huge hits.
     
  18. eastmen

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    Its odd that people say this but there have been 6 gears of war since 2006 vs 6 uncharted games from 2007. Playing the uncharted games I didn't notice any huge departures between any of those games but people don't complain about how many Uncharted games there are. I personally love the single player in Gears of war and so far there has only been one real stinker is the series. So why must they stop making them ? By all means make different games , but why stop making a good series ?
    I don't really care for halo myself but if millions of people still enjoy new halo's when they come out why would you stop making them ? Last I saw Nintendo is still releasing Mario all these decades later.


    I think MS is doing the smart thing , keeping their bigger games going while filling out their line up by creating or purchasing new studios. I think the stigma on gears and halo and forza will drop away simply by ms releasing more games a year.
     
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  19. Scott_Arm

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    The issue is Microsoft keeps putting out Gears and Halo as their big AAA titles and nothing else. Uncharted only has 4 major titles, and now from my understanding the series is done. The rest are all vita, mobile and one $15 standalone mini-game.

    Sony has a wider variety of big AAA single-player titles: Uncharted, Last of Us, God of War, Spiderman, Ghosts of Tushima, Bloodborne, Last Guardian, The Order, Walking Simulator and probably a bunch others I'm not thinking of.

    Microsoft early in the generation had Ryse, Sunset Overdrive but then things dried up and all of the exclusives have been small titles like State of Decay, Ori or they've been multiplayer community driven games like Sea of Thieves. Quantum Break is in there as something different. Games like Ori are five star games, highly praised, so I'm not knocking them, but it doesn't hit the market the same way the big single-player AAA titles hit for Playstation. I do think Microsoft needs a new series to launch and get people excited the way Halo did for Xbox original and Gears did for Xbox 360. There was no new big franchise on Xbox this gen.

    Ultimately the top games are GTA, COD, FIFA on both consoles,
     
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  20. eastmen

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    Last Guardian ? The order ? Walking Simulator ? Seriously ?

    You list these as big AAA titles but dismiss Microsoft's titles ?

    I mean why not just quote drive club ?

    Also I see what you did there

    You list a bunch of early MS games and dismiss them as being dried up early in the gen and others as small titles but then you list sony stuff from the start of the gen.

    Its all moving goal posts. MS has had a lot of great exclusive titles and they are more than halo and gears and they will prove it with the XSX but I am sure just like all the great exclusive games from them this generation it will get dismissed
     
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