The $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda Softworks and Zenimax by Microsoft shocked and awed the world last week, and possibilities for new studio/IP pairing have been flying across social media. Here are a few ideas I had for which Bethesda studios should tackle some Microsoft IPs, or vice versa, now that Xbox has 23 studios under its exclusivity belt.
10. The Coalition x Wolfenstein
The Coalition is known for making the last few Gears of War games, including the critically acclaimed Gears 5. The Wolfenstein games need a bit of a Hail Mary after the unsuccessful spin-off Youngblood, so bringing in a new studio to create a better concept for a co-op game would be great. I can imagine a single or multiplayer co-op campaign, perhaps as a prequel to the story of BJ Blaskowitz, that gets into some of the crazy occult stuff the Nazis were experimenting with during WW II.
9. Ninja Theory x The Evil Within
Ninja Theory has found success in dark action games with critical darlings like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice and DMC: Devil May Cry. The Evil Within 2 had a lot of excellent story concepts, but the action was a bit unpolished and could do with some new blood. Shinji Mikami (creator of The Evil Within and Resident Evil) has his hands tied with Ghostwire: Tokyo, so setting this team on The Evil Within 3 just makes sense. If you've played Hellblade, you'll know that Ninja Theory understands true horror.
8. Double Fine x Commander Keen
This is kind of a no-brainer. Double Fine is responsible for Psychonauts and Broken Age, two critical successes that didn't meet financial expectations. Commander Keen's witty sense of humor and action platforming would blend perfectly with Double Fine's repertoire. Since the mobile game was cancelled the last game in the series was in 2001. Bring it back!
7. Compulsion Games x Dishonored
Before you cancel me, just listen. The Dishonored main series is on a hiatus right now as Arkane is finishing Deathloop and working on other new IPs. Why not fill the gap with a cross-genre spin-off? The universe of Dishonored is one of the most robust and fleshed out I've seen this past generation, and a world that fascinating shouldn't be put to waste. Compulsion Games made a great little indie game called Contrast as well as the moderately good We Happy Few. A 2D action side scroller in the world of Dishonored with the art style of Contrast sounds absolutely amazing to me.
6. Bethesda Game Studios x Gears of War
I doubt Bethesda Game Studios needs any introduction, but they are the creators of little-known gems such as Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, Skyrim, and Fallout 4, holding more game of the year awards than any other studio. After miraculously fixing Fallout 76, the worst AAA game of the past generation, Bethesda Game Studios is slowly getting back on everyone's good side. I think Todd Howard and his team would be perfect to tell an open world, singleplayer RPG story in the world of Gears of War. This would be a bit more action-oriented and, dare I say, in first person.
5. Tango Gameworks x Perfect Dark
Tango Gameworks is responsible for The Evil Within series and the upcoming Ghostwire: Tokyo. Perfect Dark, a beloved stealth FPS from the N64 era, would be an excellent place to showcase their talents in action-horror. Perfect Dark is more of a thriller, but rebooting it as a straight horror-shooter would be a really interesting way to bring the franchise back.
4. inXile x Fallout
Fallout has a long and storied history, but the short version is that Black Isle Studios wanted to make a game in the Wasteland series (owned by inXile) and couldn't get the license. They slapped the Vault Boy on their already-finished Wasteland game, rebranded it as "Fallout," and shipped it out to the world. The Fallout license was acquired by Bethesda after Black Isle went bankrupt, and last month inXile released Wasteland 3, a post-apocalyptic tactics game, to wide critical acclaim. The stars have finally aligned - get inXile to reboot Fallout Tactics in the style of their own Wasteland series that it was once derived from.
3. Arkane Studios x Fable
Fable is being rebooted anyway, so why not mix it up? Imagine for a moment a high-fantasy, first person action game from the creators of Dishonored and Prey 2017. Hundreds of ways to pass obstacles or fight enemies, upgradable magic powers in one hand with a sword in the other, first-person parrying and sword fighting and fateful decisions about which enemies die and which ones deserve a fate worse than death. The key element here would be retaining the humor, which Arkane seems to have utilized well in Deathloop. This would be a daring move, but personally I'd love Arkane to work their magic on any series they can get a hold of.
2. iD Software x Halo
iD Software are the creators of DOOM, and made the wildly successful DOOM 2016 and DOOM Eternal. Pairing that energy with the world of Halo for a spin-off like Halo Reach (this wouldn't include Master Chief) more focused on combating The Flood infestation would be incredible. A little less story-focused and a little more shooty shoot. I'm just imagining grappling around a spaceship infested with aliens while heavy metal plays in the background. Rip and tear!
1. Obsidian x Fallout
Black Isle Studios, mentioned above, dissolved and restarted work as Obsidian Entertainment after selling the Fallout license to Bethesda. In 2008, Bethesda asked them to use the Fallout 3 engine to create a new main series game while they worked on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. What we got was what most fans consider the best game in the series, Fallout: New Vegas. I personally consider it the best RPG ever made, but that's neither here nor there. Obsidian would go on to make other critically acclaimed RPGs like The Outer Worlds and Pillars of Eternity.
Now that Obsidian and Bethesda are back together again, it's finally time. Todd Howard's team at Bethesda Game Studios can continue the main series games and eventually make Fallout 5 in 2034 while Obsidain creates their own game. I think there's room for Bethesda's action-adventure with RPG sprinklings version of Fallout to exist alongside Obsidian's hardcore RPG games. Now the question: where should Obsidian take Fallout next? I genuinely don't want a Fallout: New Vegas 2; take us somewhere new! Give us Fallout: Nuclear Winter in Minneapolis or Fallout: Music City in Nashville. Every night, I fall asleep praying for Fallout: New New Orleans. Do it, you cowards!
Got any other ideas? Who should do an Elder Scrolls fighting game spin-off and why is it Ninja Theory? Let us know in the comments below!