Microsoft recently announced a big acquisition of Bethesda, the company behind storied franchises like Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Doom. That means Bethesda’s library of games, including upcoming Bethesda Game Studios projects like Starfield, will be available on Xbox Game Pass. One that note, Bethesda’s Todd Howard promises that BGS’ upcoming projects will be getting a big upgrade with a revamped engine.
In Howard’s statement on the acquisition, he walks through how working hand-in-hand with Microsoft has led the company to make technical leaps for its new games.
“With each new console cycle, we evolved together. From bringing mods to consoles with Fallout 4, now over a billion downloads, to the latest technologies fueling Xbox Series X/S,” Howard said. “These new systems are optimized for the vast worlds we love to create, with generational leaps not just in graphics, but CPU and data streaming as well. It’s led to our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion, with all new technologies powering our first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, as well as The Elder Scrolls VI.”
Oblivion released in 2006 and represented a huge shift from previous games in the series. Since then, though, Bethesda has often been criticized for its engine showing its age, especially with regard to strange bugs in its open worlds. Howard didn’t mention the focus of these overhauls, but his comment suggests we’ll be able to tell the difference when Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 debut.
Given the comments from Howard, the engine overhaul would appear to be aimed at those two games that he’s producing. The Bethesda acquisition actually encompasses a lot more games besides those, including several that don’t use the Elder Scrolls and Fallout engine at all.
The acquisition also comes as Bethesda has plans to release some PS5 exclusives, Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo. Xbox head Phil Spencer told Bloomberg that those games will still see their arrangements honored. It remains to be seen if other games will come to multiple platforms. Microsoft is going to approach them on a case-by-case basis.
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