We’re all buzzing about today’s big gaming news. Microsoft has bought Bethesda. And as part of that $7.5 billion purchase, the Xbox company now owns Bethesda Game Works and some of the biggest role-playing game franchises of all time: The Elder Scrolls and Fallout.
So now Microsoft owns an RPG powerhouse. Well, another one. In 2018, Microsoft started this game company-acquiring binge, and Obsidian was one of its first big gets. That’s a studio that has its own history with Fallout, and all things considered … well, maybe Obsidian is the one that should make the next entry in that postapocalyptic series.
First off, you need to understand Obsidian’s history. The developer started in 2003 after the closure of Black Isle Studios, and many of those folks formed the new studio. Much of the team that made the original Fallout at Interplay created Black Isle, which then developed Fallout 2. Interestingly, Microsoft also owns InXile, a studio created by Interplay founder Brian Fargo … who worked on the original Fallout.
Stone forged by Fallout
Obsidian’s ties to Fallout aren’t all so ancient. In 2010, Bethesda had Obsidian develop a new entry in the franchise — Fallout: New Vegas. This game came out between Bethesda’s own entries in the series, Fallout 3 and Fallout 4. For many fans (including me), New Vegas remains the best of the first-person Fallout games.
So Obsidian has history on its side. Then there’s logistics. Bethesda is already working on two major RPG projects with Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI. That means that it could be several years before it could get back to Fallout.
Then you also have to consider Bethesda’s recent track record with the franchise. 2015’s Fallout 4 is not a bad game, but many fans of the series lamented its comparable lack of role-playing options when compared to New Vegas. Then you have Fallout 76, an MMO take on the series that launched in 2018 in rough shape.
For many, Fallout: New Vegas is the last game in the series that we loved. Now that Microsoft owns Obsidian, a Fallout: New Vegas 2 is an actual possibility. Even Obsidian recognizes this.
— Obsidian (@Obsidian) September 21, 2020
I also want to note that Obsidian’s last game, The Outer Worlds, was basically a sci-fi take on Fallout. And it’s great! I have no doubt that Obsidian could make another good Fallout game.
Making everyone happy
Of course, it’s not a slam dunk proposal. Obsidian is already working on its own games. This includes Avowed, another fantasy first-person RPG game that gives off some Elder Scrolls vibes. That project isn’t going to be done any time soon, so Obsidian may not have the bandwidth for Fallout. Still, it’s likely that they could get to it before Bethesda is done with its two massive RPGs.
You also have to consider the feelings of the studios themselves. Maybe Obsidian doesn’t want to work on a Bethesda franchise anymore. And maybe Bethesda doesn’t want anyone else playing in its Fallout sandbox anymore. Sure, Microsoft could make them, but that mega corp also wants to keep its new acquisitions happy.
One thing is for sure. Microsoft is going to want a new Fallout game. Now it’s just a matter of who makes it. If it was up to me, I’d give the job to Obsidian.