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Executive Producer at Bethesda opens up about the $7.5B Xbox-Bethesda deal

Microsoft is acquiring Bethesda! (Image Credits: Microsoft)
Microsoft is acquiring Bethesda! (Image Credits: Microsoft)
Rishabh B.
ANALYST
Modified 21 Sep 2020, 23:15 IST
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Earlier today, Microsoft announced that it will acquire Bethesda Softworks’ parent company ZeniMax in a $7.5 billion deal. The official statement from Microsoft was released today and it shed light on the long standing relationship between the two companies. Bethesda is behind some incredibly popular gaming titles, including Fallout and the Elder Scrolls series.

The move is set to be beneficial for both the parties. For Microsoft, this is the perfect response to the range of games that have been announced as being part of Sony’s PS5 at launch. Regardless, Todd Howard, the Executive Producer and Director at Bethesda Game Studios, released an elaborate statement on the said deal.

Executive Producer at Bethesda opens up about the $7.5B Xbox-Bethesda deal

In the statement that you can read by clicking this link, Bethesda’s Executive producer shed light on his ‘incredible team of talented, humble, and passionate people’. He conceded that Microsoft has proved to be the oldest and closest partner through his long career.

Bethesda Director and Executive Producer Todd Howard (Image Credits: gazette Review)
Bethesda Director and Executive Producer Todd Howard (Image Credits: gazette Review)

He talked about how it all started with Microsoft back in 1999. Bethesda had just become part of a new startup called ZeniMax Media, and Todd Howard had travelled to Redmond to talk to Microsoft about bringing their game - Morrowland, to the first Xbox.

He explained that he had reservations about the game being part of the console. Despite this, 'Morrowind' went on to become one of the best-selling Xbox games of all time. He compared the game to Halo, which was another PC-style game that did very well on the Xbox.

I was dubious Xbox Morrowind would be worth the time, somewhat on a technical level, but more so from taking a hardcore RPG and moving it from a PC desktop experience to a controller-and-sofa experience. If we made it work, would people want it?
Microsoft and their new Xbox crew had a view, that I came to share completely. Shouldn’t we allow anyone to have this experience? Why does it matter where the screen is or what the controller is? There are many people without the same access, and we can bring it to them.
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Morrowind would go on to become one of the best-selling Xbox games of all time, behind Halo, another PC style game some said wouldn’t work. Its success paved the way for the growth of our company, and proved the point - people wanted this experience, regardless of device.

He further talked about the evolution of Bethesda and Microsoft’s relationship, as you can see below.

Microsoft quickly let us in on their next system, the Xbox 360. More than a PC port, our aim with our next game, Oblivion, was to usher in the next generation of gaming. With each game, from Fallout 3 to Skyrim, our studio and company grew, adding brilliant and like-minded studios across the globe. All of us sharing in the belief that expanding the reach of gaming was fundamental, whether it was on a pc, console, your phone, or the cloud.
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. 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.

Towards the end, Todd talked about how this new partnership between Bethesda and Microsoft is due to a shared belief in the ‘fundamental power of games’.

Like our original partnership, this one is about more than one system or one screen. We share a deep belief in the fundamental power of games, in their ability to connect, empower, and bring joy. And a belief we should bring that to everyone - regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you play on. Regardless of the screen size, the controller, or your ability to even use one.
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We can’t think of a better group of people to do that with than those at Xbox. We have friendships that go back to those original days. From Phil to his senior leaders to developer support, they don’t just talk about putting players first, they passionately live it.

Towards the end, the Bethesda Director looked back at his long journey, and the innumerable honors that he has received, and hoped that there will be more to come. He further said that Bethesda will go on to create many games in the future.

At Bethesda, we’ve been lucky enough to create games we love, and have an audience who loves them as much as we do. I have personally been humbled by the many industry honors I have received, as they belong to the entire studio. But one has always stood out to me for a special reason. When I received the Lifetime Achievement Award at GDC, I joked in my acceptance “I wonder how many achievement points this one is worth?” At the end of the ceremony, some good friends from Microsoft congratulated me and said they’d find out. A few months later I was given a code to a game they had created, named after me and locked to my account. When ran, it unlocks a single achievement - “Lifetime - 1000pts.” It still sits in my list when I check, and I smile every time.
It has been a lifetime. But there’s more to come and achievements to unlock together. We hope you join us.
Published 21 Sep 2020, 23:15 IST
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