Top 10 Xbox Game Studios

Last week, Microsoft sent tidal waves across the video game industry when they announced that they were going to acquire publisher Activision Blizzard and all the studios that fall under that umbrella.

Top 10 Xbox Game Studios

Once Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard is finalized at some point in the next year, along with last year’s acquisition of Bethesda, that brings Xbox Game Studios to a staggering 32 studios. That’s crazy when you compare that to the amount of Sony and Nintendo first-party studios. With all that, today we’re going to look at the top 10 Xbox Game Studios.

ID Software

doom

 First up on the list is id Software. id Software was brought in as part of the Bethesda acquisition. Why do they start off the list? One word: Doom. The studio is behind one of the most iconic first-person shooters series of all time (that’s with Microsoft owning Halo and now Call of Duty). The reboot of Doom in 2016 brought the series back and the 2020 sequel, Doom Eternal, blew what first-person shooters could be out of the water.

id Software showed they are the peak of hardcore shooters. That diversifies Microsoft’s first-person shooter lineup which will allow Doom to stand apart from the rest. It would come as no surprise if id Software is working on another Doom game, but only time will tell at this moment. However, id Software is still a great start to this list.

Image Credit: id Software. 

The Initiative

perfect dark

 The Initiative is Microsoft’s newest studio in terms of its opening in 2018 and not releasing a game yet. However, Microsoft opened the studio with the intent of releasing major “AAAA” games from the studio. Their first project is a revival of Perfect Dark.

Though not much is known about the game itself or future plans for the studio following the release of that game whenever that may be, The Initiative is primed to be one of Microsoft’s premier studios down the line if things go well with Perfect Dark. Thus, it deserves a spot on the list just for the potential it provides to the Xbox Game Studios lineup.

Image Credit: The Initiative. 

Ninja Theory

hellblade

Ninja Theory was one of the more shocking acquisitions Microsoft made in 2018. The studio was just coming off their newest game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice less than a year prior. Adding the studio to their portfolio gave Microsoft a strong studio that has a history of making third-person action games, a genre Xbox was lacking.

The studio feels like it is an answer to the kind of games Sony first-party studios make. The studio’s next game, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, has been tied to the Xbox Series X since they were revealed together, and it looks like the game is set to be a showpiece for the console upon release. Being a studio that is filling in a gap in Microsoft’s repertoire surely lands Ninja Theory a spot on the list.

Image Credit: Ninja Theory. 

Treyarch

black ops

The first of the Activision Blizzard studios to appear on the list. Treyarch is known best as being one of the Call of Duty developers with the Black Ops subseries being their hallmark. Their most recent release was Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War in 2020. While we don’t know exactly if their next game will follow up that game specifically or if they decide to go in a new direction with their next game.

Though one thing is for sure, and that they will still be developing Call of Duty games under Microsoft. The studio also prides itself on inclusivity, even releasing a statement of its own regarding the Activision Blizzard conduct situation that came out over the last year.

Image Credit: Treyarch. 

Obsidian Entertainment

fallout

When Microsoft purchased Obsidian Entertainment in 2018, they got one of the best Western RPG studios out there. One many fans have said is even on par or better than later acquisition Bethesda Game Studios. Now that Microsoft owns both, Obsidian’s value only increases.

First, Obsidian made what many consider one of the best Fallout games in 2010’s Fallout: New Vegas, and, now with Microsoft owning the franchise, they could easily take the lead on that franchise. Then, they also have two more games in development in The Outer Worlds 2 and Avowed which are poised to be more RPGs that will add incredible value to Xbox Game Pass.

Image Credit: Obsidian Entertainment. 

Playground Games

Forza Horizon 4

Playground Games gained massive appeal when Microsoft brought them into the fold to start the Forza spinoff Forza Horizon. Forza Horizon has since surpassed the original Forza Motorsport series and developer Turn 10 has the premier studio of the franchise with the most recent Forza Horizon 5 being universally praised and even winning Game of the Year at some major outlets.

Since being acquired in 2018, Microsoft’s trust in the studio has grown immensely, and their first project that is not a racing game will be a new entry in the beloved Fable series. That’s some major trust in a developer that hasn’t made a game of that kind before. Even with one of the founders of the studios recently stepping down, Playground Games is now easily one of the top Xbox Game Studios.

Image Credit: Playground Games. 

The Coalition

gears 5 the coalition

Since bringing the Gears of War franchise in-house after Epic Games was done with the franchise, The Coalition has produced two successful entries in the series. While not as big as it was back when the series first started (we all remember the first trailer for the original), the series is still one of the most important to Microsoft. At the time of release, Gears 5 was the biggest first-party launch during the Xbox One generation.

With how that game ended, it easily set up for the next mainline entry in the series, and that is for sure what The Coalition is currently working on. Because of the importance of the franchise and its recent success of it, The Coalition is still firmly one of Xbox’s top studios.

Image Credit: The Coalition. 

343 Industries

halo

 Though Microsoft has recently purchased major franchises such as Call of Duty and The Elder Scrolls, Halo is still Xbox’s most iconic franchise, and is so entwined with the Xbox brand. After a tumultuous development cycle, the recently released Halo Infinite had a wildly successful release by being the biggest launch in franchise history.

The campaign was the best 343 Industries has done, and the multiplayer is perfectly Halo on top of being free to play. The studio has also committed to support the game for years to come. Even after that, 343 will still be the ones behind Halo, and, with the series being the most iconic Xbox franchise, they will continue to be one of the most supported and top studios in the Xbox Game Studios portfolio.

Image Credit: 343 Industries. 

Infinity Ward

modern warfare

Three words. Call of Duty. And Infinity Ward is the Call of Duty studio. Not only are they the top studio that handles the franchise, but they are also the ones behind the biggest subset of the series with Modern Warfare. Their most recent game, a reboot of the Modern Warfare series, released in 2019, and with the 3-year cycle the studio is on, their next game should be coming this year.

Reports say it’s another Modern Warfare game, and, luckily for PlayStation gamers, the game is set to come to both Xbox and PlayStation consoles. But, with the acquisition of one of the biggest franchises in gaming ever, Infinity Ward is set to become one of Microsoft’s most important studios once all the Activision Blizzard fallout settles.

Image Credit: Infinity Ward. 

Bethesda Game Studios

elder scrolls

When Microsoft acquired Bethesda, Bethesda Game Studios was the definitive studio that was part of that deal. Because of that, Bethesda Game Studios skyrocketed to the top of Microsoft’s portfolio of studios. The studio is behind two of the most beloved franchises in The Elder Scrolls and Fallout.

They’re also releasing their next major IP later this year in Starfield, and The Elder Scrolls VI is on its way down the line. That’s three major franchises that the studio will be working on for at least the next decade. Thus, with that strong of a lineup just from one studio, it is easy to say Bethesda Game Studios is the top member of the Xbox Game Studios.

Image Credit: Bethesda Games. 

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Image Credit: Bethesda Games. 

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Feature Image Credit: Bethesda Games.