Thoughts on Microsoft Potentially Acquiring Obsidian

If someone were to ask me to name off a few of my favorite video game companies, I feel like without hesitation the companies I’d name would consist mainly of those who create role playing games. Being someone who grew up during a time when RPGs were the hot ticket on consoles, I feel as though it’s a genre that is familiar ground for me. From the turn-based Final Fantasy games to the more action-oriented Elder Scrolls series, I feel like I can safely say that I enjoy all types of RPGs.

During the last few generation of consoles however, I had always thought that it seemed like there was a surge of more action-RPGs. With turn-based RPGs seemingly fading away after their dominance back during the Super Nintendo and PlayStation One days. They’re still around, but for the most part it feels as though the RPGs made these days seem to lean towards a more streamline action-style.

Going back to the past decade looking towards the more memorable action-RPGs, I feel like it’s easy for me to name titles like Diablo II, Morrowind or Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic as some of the finest games I’ve ever played. This all really brings me to a topic I find to be relatively interesting – the prospect of Microsoft buying Obsidian Entertainment.

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Starting off with my first experience with an Obsidian game and going way back to the original Xbox. I remember being a huge fan of what Bioware had done with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It was a game that I absolutely could not get enough of as a teenager, and one that I found myself replaying from start to finish on several occasions. Then comes the sequel – Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. At the time, I admittedly had no idea who Obsidian was, but I was still excited to play The Sith Lords nonetheless. I was not disappointed. The game turned out to be fantastic in the end, with writing that I felt was superior to the previous Knights of the Old Republic title, though I did notice that the game was quite buggy overall – this became a theme for me when playing through games made by Obsidian Entertainment.

I had always considered the writing and gameplay of Obsidian games to be very strong, always finding myself interested in the way they design player choice, as it makes replayability a lot more enjoyable. Last week I had mentioned Fallout: New Vegas, basically praising the game. I can still remember going back into New Vegas just to see a variety of the games outcomes. From the beginning of the game, choosing to side with either Goodsprings or the Powder Gangers, to the ending where you were able to choose from several ways to go about the Battle of Hoover Dam. Obsidian’s games never lacked replay value, I feel like this is where they had always shined. Even in other titles I’ve played from Obsidian, like Alpha Protocol or to some extent South Park: The Stick of Truth, these games were just great with all they had to offer.

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So to finally get into how I feel about Obsidian and the possibility of them being snatched up by Microsoft. It feels sort of random, though not entirely surprisingly with how big the gaming market is today and well…, I think it’d be great for Microsoft, especially in their case where their exclusive lineup has been sorely lacking this generation. Obsidian is a company that I feel makes very good games, albeit the obvious technical issues. I feel that a company like Obsidian could do something fantastic with an IP like Fable, being a series where karmic outcomes are basically the game. If not a Fable revival, maybe even create a nice new RPG series for the Xbox. Either way, I think it’ll be interesting to see what happens and having the means to more income from a company like Microsoft could mean something big. As for the time being, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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