Xbox Game Studios |OT7| Discover Your Next Favorite OT

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Oct 25, 2017

Welcome, everyone, to the seventh Xbox Studios OT, where the only awards we need are the ones for the hottest takes and edgiest quips.

Y'all know what this is. No need to waste any more time now.

First Party Studios

Founded in 2007, 343 Industries is Microsoft's home team for all things Halo—video games, movies, TV shows, comics, et cetera. Here's some info:

Noteworthy Persons: Bonnie Ross (General Manager), Frank O'Connor (Franchise Director)

Studio Size: 500 employees

Notable Releases:
  • Halo: Spartan Assault (XB1, Steam, Mobile | 2013 | Metascore 53/70/86)
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection (XB1 | 2014 | Metascore 85)
  • Halo 4 (XB360 | 2012 | Metascore 87)
  • Halo 5: Guardians (XB1 | 2015 | Metascore 84)
  • Halo: Spartan Strike (Win10, Mobile | 2015 | Metascore 66)
  • Halo 5: Forge (Win10 | 2016 | No Metascore)
  • Halo Wars: Definitive Edition (XB1, Win10, Steam | 2017 | Metascore 81)
  • Halo Wars 2 (XB1, Win10 | 2017 | Metascore 79)
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • Halo Infinite, the future of Halo.
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection PC version (in conjunction with Ruffian and Splash Damage)

Originally founded in 2010 as Zipline Studios, The Coalition went through two more rebrandings—the first as Microsoft Studios Vancouver, and the second as Black Tusk Studios—before becoming Microsoft's dedicated Gears of War studio after the acquisition of the IP in early 2014. Here's some info:

Noteworthy Persons: Rod Fergusson (Studio Head)

Studio Size: ~300 employees

Notable Releases:
  • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (XB1, Win10 | 2015 | Metascore 82/73)
  • Gears of War 4 (XB1, Win10 | 2016 | Metascore 84/86)
  • Gears Pop! (Mobile | 2019 )
  • Gears of War 5 (XB1, Win10 | 2019 | Metascore 85/82)

Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • Gears Tactics


Founded in 2001, apparently due to a lack of simulation racing games present on the Original Xbox, Turn 10 rose to prominence as the Forza Motorsport franchise grew into the tentpole it is today, further expanding in 2012 with the Forza Horizon franchise, developed by Playground Games. Here's some info:

Noteworthy Persons: Alan Hartman (Studio Lead), Dan Greenawalt (Creative Director)

Studio Size: 100 employees

Notable Releases:
  • Forza Motorsport 5 (XB1 | 2013 | Metascore 79)
  • Forza Horizon 2 (XB1 | Collab W/ Playground Games | 2014 | Metascore 86)
  • Forza Motorsport 6 (XB1 | 2015 | Metascore 87)
  • Forza Motorsport 6: Apex (Win10 | 2016 | No Metascore)
  • Forza Horizon 3 (XB1, Win10 | Collab W/ Playground Games | 2016 | Metascore 91/86)
  • Forza Motorsport 7 (XB1, Win10 | 2017 | Metascore 86/82)
  • Forza Horizon 4 (XB1, Win10 | 2018 | Metascore 92/88)
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • Forza Motorsport 8

Founded in 1985 by the Stamper brothers, Rareware—as it was then called—focused almost exclusively on development for Nintendo systems, until Microsoft acquired the company in 2002 and shifted their focus to Xbox, changing their name to Rare in the process. Here's some info:

Noteworthy Persons: Craig Duncan (Studio Head), Gregg Mayles (Creative Director)

Studio Size: 200 employees

Notable Releases:
  • Kinect Sports Rivals (XB1 | 2014 | Metascore 60)
  • Rare Replay (XB1 | 2015 | Metascore 84)
  • Sea of Thieves (XB1, Win10 | 2018 | Metascore 68)
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:


Founded in 2009 by game developer Markus Persson, Mojang was built around and catered to the development of the modern gaming phenomenon Minecraft. The studio was later acquired by Microsoft in 2014, and still largely focuses on the management and development of the Minecraft IP. Here's some info:

Noteworthy Persons: Jens Bergensten (Lead Creative Designer), Lydia Winters (Brand Director)

Studio Size: 70 employees

Notable Releases:
  • Minecraft (360, PS3, Wii U, XB1, PS4, Switch, Win10, PC, Mobile | 2012-2017 | Metascore 88)
  • Cobalt (XB1, PC | Collab w/ Oxeye Studios | 2016 | Metascore 66)
  • Minecraft Earth (iOS, Android | 2019)
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • Minecraft Dungeons


Established in 2010 by a large group of former racing developers from some of the best studios in the industry, Playground Games pioneered the breakout hit spinoff franchise Forza Horizon, and continues to maintain that series into its fourth iteration, as well as focuses on other projects.

Noteworthy Persons: Gavin Raeburn (Studio Head), Trevor Williams (Studio Head), Ralph Fulton (Creative Director)

Studio Size: ~240 employees

Notable Releases:
  • Forza Horizon (360 | 2012 | Metascore 85)
  • Forza Horizon 2 (360, XB1 | 2014 | Metascore 86)
  • Forza Horizon 3 (XB1, Win10 | 2016 | Metascore 91/86)
  • Forza Horizon 4 (XB1, Win10 | 2018 | Metascore 92/88)
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • Unannounced open-world RPG, created at their new St. Alban House studio
  • Third team being created, as per rumor (citation needed)

Originally founded in 2000 as Just Add Monsters, the studio was rebranded as Ninja Theory in 2004 during the development of Heavenly Sword. Comprised of action game experts and a storied history in gaming, Ninja Theory is one of the leaders of action-heavy games and setpiece design.

Noteworthy Persons: Nina Kristensen (Chief Development Director), Tameem Antoniades (Chief Creative Director), Wil Driver (CTO), Joe Nelson (Game Director)

Studio Size: ~140 employees

Notable Releases:
  • Kung Fu Chaos (OGXB | 2003 | Metascore 68)
  • Heavenly Sword (PS3 | 2007 | Metascore 79)
  • Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (360, PS3, PC | 2010 | Metascore 80)
  • DmC: Devil May Cry (360, PS3, PS4, XB1, PC | 2013 | Metascore 86)
  • DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition (XB1, PS4 | 2015 | Metascore 86)
  • Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (XB1, PS4, PC | 2017 | Metascore 81)
  • Star Wars: Vader Immortal Episode I (Oculus Quest, PC | 2019)
  • Star Wars: Vader Immortal Episode II (Oculus Quest, PC | 2019)
  • Star Wars: Vader Immortal Episode III (Oculus Quest, PC | 2019)
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • Bleeding Edge (XB1, PC), currently in tech alpha
  • Hellblade II: Senua's Saga (XB1, XSX, PC)
  • Project Mara
  • Project Insight

Founded in 2018, and headed up by Darrell Gallagher, The Initiative is a brand new studio operating out of Santa Monica, California, dedicated to working on brand new AAA games for Microsoft Studios.

Noteworthy Persons: Darrell Gallagher (Studio Head), Dan Staley, Christian Cantamessa, Brian Westergaard, Dan Neuburger, and Tom Shepard

Studio Size: Will be updated as more info is made known.

Notable Releases:
  • Will update as more info is made known.
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • Will update as more info is made known.

Founded in 2009 by Jeff Strain, Undead Labs operated on a laser-guided focus on zombie-based games. Their first game, State of Decay (360), was a smash Xbox Live Arcade hit. Acquired in 2018, Undead Labs remains committed to bringing out the best in zombie-related games, and potentially other projects as well.

Noteworthy Persons: Jeff Strain (Studio Head)

Studio Size: 75 employees

Notable Releases:
  • State of Decay (360, PC | 2013 | Metascore 78)
  • State of Decay 2 (XB1, Win10 | 2018 | Metascore 68)
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • State of Decay 3

Founded in 2009 by Guillaume Provost in Montreal, Compulsion Games is comprised of various developers from Valve to Ubisoft, and focuses on story-driven games with weird twists.

Noteworthy Persons: Guillaume Provost (Studio Head)

Studio Size: 40 employees

Notable Releases:
  • Contrast (360, PS3, XB1, PS4, PC | 2013 | Metascore 59/62)
  • We Happy Few (XB1, PS4, PC | 2018 | Metascore 65/68/62)
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • Unannounced third person game

Founded in 2003 by ex-Black Isle employees, Obsidian Entertainment is one of the foremost Western RPG developers in today’s industry, with a legacy that includes acclaimed titles such as Pillars of Eternity, Fallout: New Vegas, and South Park: The Stick of Truth. Acquired in November 2018, the studio remains committed to brand new WRPG games in both new IPs and old, and will undoubtedly pursue masterclass projects across many fields.

Noteworthy Persons: Feargus Urquhart (CEO), Chris Jones (CTO)

Studio Size: ~190 Employees

Notable Releases:
  • Fallout: New Vegas (360, PS3, PC | 2010 | Metascore 84/82/84)
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth (360, PS3, XB1, PS4, Switch, PC | 2014 | Metascore 82/85/85/85)
  • Pillars of Eternity (PC | 2015 | Metascore 89),
  • The Outer Worlds (XB1, PS4, PC, Switch | 2019 | Metascore 86/85/82/NA)
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • New IP: Grounded
  • Josh Sawyer's Project Missouri
  • The Outer Worlds DLC

Founded in 2002 by former members of Interplay Productions, inXile Entertainment are the creators behind some of the best CRPGs in the industry, such as Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera. The studio is originally based in Newport Beach, California, however in November of 2015, inXile founded a second studio in New Orleans, where since now-former President Matt Findley has resided as Studio Lead.

Noteworthy Persons: Brian Fargo (Founder and based in Newport Beach, CA), Matt Findley (former president, NOLA Studio Head), George Ziets

Studio Size: ~80 Employees

Notable Releases:
  • Wasteland 2 (XB1, PS4, Switch, PC | 2015 | Metascore 77/80/74/87) [Newport Beach Studio]
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera (XB1, PS4, PC | 2017 | Metascore 79/76/81) [Newport Beach Studio]
  • The Bards' Tale IV: Barrows Deep (PS4, XB1, PC, macOS, Linux | 2018 | Metascore 71) [NOLA Studio]
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • Wasteland 3 [Newport Beach Studio]
  • Wasteland: Remastered (XB1, PC)
  • Unannounced AAA RPG


Founded in 2002 by former LucasArts developers led by Tim Schafer, Double Fine Productions is a studio functioning as a masterclass in unique, interesting games focusing on fun above all else, even though they're really freaking good at the other stuff, too. Among their repertoire are such titles as Psychonauts, Massive Chalice, and the much beloved Grim Fandango Remastered—itself a modern rendition of a project Tim Schafer created back in the LucasArts days.

Noteworthy Persons: Tim Schafer (Studio Head/Lead Developer)

Studio Size: ~73 Employees

Notable Releases:
  • Psychonauts
  • Brütal Legend
  • Costume Quest
  • The Cave
  • Broken Age
  • Grim Fandango Remastered
  • Massive Chalice
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • Psychonauts 2 (XB1, PS4, PC, macOS, Linux | 2020)
  • Untitled online multiplayer game


Created by Microsoft in 2019, World's Edge is headed up by Shannon Loftis and is responsible for managing the Age of Empires franchise in a similar fashion to 343 Industries with Halo and The Coalition with Gears of War. Not much is yet known about the studio, but we'll surely find out in the months and years to come.

Noteworthy Persons: Shannon Loftis (Studio Head)

Studio Size: Unknown

Notable Releases:
  • Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition (PC | 2019)
Upcoming Projects and Rumors:
  • Age of Empires IV (2019), in conjunction with Relic Entertainment

Other Studios/Teams:
  • [email protected], publishing support and pilot program for independent game developers
  • Microsoft Studios Global Publishing, handles Microsoft Studio publishing between first party and partner studios
  • Mixer, streaming service
  • Backwards Compatibility Team, handles Xbox One BackCompat
  • Microsoft Foundry, intern program
  • Mixed Reality Team, works on AR/VR content for Xbox and Windows 10
  • Microsoft Casual Games, works on the casual games collection for Microsoft, including MS Solitaire, Wordament, and MS Mahjong
  • Xbox Growth Team
  • Xbox Game Pass
  • Project xCloud
Acquisitions, Studios and Otherwise (8th Gen):
Studios/Teams Shut Down or Spun Off (8th Gen):
  • Twisted Pixel (The Maw, Splosion Man), left in 2015
  • Press Play (Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, Kalimba), closed in 2016
  • Lionhead Studios (The Fable Franchise), closed in 2016
  • Team Dakota (Project Spark), disbanded in 2016
  • Xbox Fitness Team, disbanded in 2016
  • Decisive Games, disbanded before public outing in 2016
Cancelled/Discontinued Titles (8th Gen):
  • Black Tusk's new IP, cancelled to shift focus onto Gears of War and subsequent titles
  • Project Spark, servers closed in 2015
  • Fable Legends, cancelled with Lionhead's closing in 2016
  • Project Knoxville, cancelled with Press Play's closing in 2016
  • Xbox Fitness, servers closed June 2017
2019 games so far:
  • Crackdown 3 (XB1, PC | 2019 | Metascore 60/54)
  • Gears of War 5 (XB1, PC | 2019 | Metascore 85/82)
  • The Outer Worlds (XB1, PS4, PC, Switch | 2019 | Metascore 86/85/82/NA)

Below we have information regarding upcoming titles created by partner studios, as well as any other relevant material not mentioned previously. Don't fret. This section will get a MAJOR rework in the days and weeks to come.

We begin with upcoming partner titles:

Developer: Moon Studios

Release Date: 2020



Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment

Release Date: 2020


Tell Me Why is the latest narrative adventure game from DONTNOD Entertainment, the studio behind the beloved franchise Life is Strange. In this intimate thriller, reunited twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan use their special bond to unravel mysteries of their loving but troubled childhood.

Set in the fictional town of Delos Crossing, Alaska, Tell Me Why features a cast of intriguing, true-to-life characters and mature themes. As you interact with memories of the past, you will make choices that determine the strength of the unique bond that Tyler and Alyson share—and shape the future course of the twins’ lives.

Tell Me Why unfolds across three chapters, all of which will release in the Summer of 2020 with Xbox Game Pass and will also be available for purchase on Xbox One, Windows PC and Steam.

Developer: Asobo Studios

Release Date: March 2020


Flight Simulator will feature Asobo's in-house developed game engine, and leverage Bing Maps data, accessing over two petabytes of data from the cloud on demand.[1]Azure AI analyzes map data and photogrammetry to generate photorealistic 3D models of buildings, trees, terrain, and so on. This allows the simulator to depict most parts of the world in 3D photo-realism, and other parts in high definition.[2]

There will also be realistic physics and weather systems, and utilization of real-world weather data. An example used at E3 2019 was that if it was raining somewhere in real life, it would be raining in-game. Individual clouds will have their own behaviors and they will impact aircraft performance depending on its location within the system. Asobo has created their own flight model engine, allowing thousands of surfaces and 3D forces and moments to be fully simulated.

Flight Simulator will populate roads with vehicles, water will flow realistically based on wind direction, grass will have individual grass blades and trees will have individual leaves, creating the illusion of a living world. It will feature over two million cities and towns and more than 40,000 real-world airports.

Developer: Smilegate

Release Date: 2020


CrossfireX delivers an intense first-person shooter experience where players are immersed in a sprawling global conflict between the world’s two most formidable private military factions: Global Risk employs veterans of powerful armed forces who use advanced technologies to fight for order and security; Black List employs hardened mercenaries trained in guerilla tactics who fight to destabilize oppressive regimes in the name of freedom. Choose your side and complete objective-based missions across a variety of classic and innovative modes featuring tightly crafted gameplay and cinematic visuals.

Miscellaneous & Important Information

Current Partner Studios
  • 4J Studios, original console versions of Minecraft
  • Armature, ReCore DLC/updates
  • Beep Industries, VooDoo Vince Remastered
  • Certain Affinity, assistance on Halo projects
  • Cloudgine, Crackdown 3
  • Flaming Foul Studios, Fable Fortune
  • Forgotten Empires, Age of Empires 1: Definitive Edition, Age of Empires 2 & 3: Definitive Editions
  • Iron Galaxy Studios, Killer Instinct new characters/updates
  • Moon Studios, Ori and the Blind Forest, Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • ReAgent Games, Crackdown 3
  • Relic Entertainment, Age of Empire 4
  • Saber Interactive, assistance on Halo projects
  • Skybox Labs, Age of Empires DLC, Halo 5: Forge updates
  • Smoking Gun Interactive, Age of Empires: Castle Siege
  • Splash Damage, assistance on Gears of War 4 DLC
  • StudioMDHR, Cuphead
  • Electric Square, Miami Street (renamed to Forza Street)
  • Sumo Digital, Crackdown 3
  • DONTNOD, Tell Me Why
Rumored Partners:
  • None so far
Cancelled Partner Collaborations:

To reiterate, this post will be updated whenever new information is revealed or things need to be adjusted to reflect the current outlook as per the facts. If you have any suggestions, or believe I've left something out, please ping me in the Discord or send me a message here on Era and I'll address any issues as soon as I can.

Credit for the headers goes to Klobrille.

IF YOU WANT TO GET INTO THE XBOXERA DISCORD, PLEASE PM ME ON ERA. I'll try and get you in as soon as I can.
Last edited:


Jun 14, 2019
Sydney, New South Wales
I really adore Xbox and their games, but I just have never been impressed by the Xbox One as a platform. I really want them to win me back with Scarlett somehow – hook me in with something new, different, and exciting like Nintendo did with the Switch. xCloud might just be that thing that compels me to jump aboard Scarlett, if they manage to pull it off well.


Oct 27, 2017
Oh hey, I made it on the first page of the new OT.

I said this in the last OT but i will say it again here. A few days ago, I got an email from Microsoft that had a link to a survey about next gen. I was wondering if anyone else got that.

Slicer Dyster

Dec 20, 2017
Kaironaut we need to update the Age of Empires studio information. It is called World's Edge right?

Both releases are from World’s Edge, a dedicated studio for Age of Empires that’s led by Shannon Loftis and is now a part of the Xbox Games Studios family.


Oct 27, 2017
New thread :) Well done Kairo. This should keep us going until February 2020. Hope we get some juicy insider info along the way.


Dec 11, 2018
Looks great. That said, a few corrections.

- InXile has already released the Bards Tale IV Console Port

- InXile is currently working on an Action RPG

- Rumored Obsidian projects include Outer Worlds 2, Chris Parker's new action RPG, and Josh Sawyer's Project Missouri which based on recent hires is likely a Unity-based CRPG

- Gears 5 was also released this year. It's already in the Coalition section, but not in 2019 releases.

In Amber Clad

Aug 26, 2018
/sees poll results in OT6

God damnit, was I the only one that submitted Spencer's Choice! After so many people said it was a good title :D

This one's good too though, I'm not bitter.

Ok, I'm a little bitter.


Jan 10, 2018
OT needs some tweakin’ (Worlds Edge is the new name for the AoE studio) and also adding Asobo and DONTNOD to Global Publishing.


Dec 11, 2018
/sees poll results in OT6

God damnit, was I the only one that submitted Spencer's Choice! After so many people said it was a good title :D

This one's good too though, I'm not bitter.

Ok, I'm a little bitter.
Didn't see the poll. I woulda voted Spencer's Choice. Still, this title is great. Only thing I'd like to see is a TM added to the end given Sony's attempt to steal it.
Oct 25, 2017
OTs are moving fast! #20OtsBy2020

I think we can add more rumored projects under Obsidian. We more-or-less know they're working on a AAA open world RPG (lead by Chris Parker?) Thanks to job listings.
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