Even though Microsoft indicated around this year’s E3 that its acquisition spree was nearing an end, some rumors are circulating that could put one more company in the Xbox Game Studios family. Borys Nieśpielak, a Polish film director with some game industry contacts, has said during a recent podcast that Microsoft is in the country and looking for acquisition targets.
„It's not known with whom else. […] It's not known if they reach an agreement with anyone. I can't say who they talked to too much. But it's known that this was the case.” | Source ⇨ https://t.co/Gs7248tG9M (only in Polish) | Timestamps ⇨ 35:35-36:28 [3/4]
— S3V8 🔙 X019 (@_s3v8_) December 19, 2019
ResetEra sprung into action and went to work laying out potential targets for the business move, and there are plenty of interesting options. The most likely candidate for those looking into the rumor is People Can Fly, a studio that already has ties to Microsoft thanks to its work on Gears of War: Judgment. This would also bring the Bulletstorm IP, which could slot right into a Halo/Gears spot on the schedule if given time to produce a sequel. The studio’s current project is Outriders, a three-player co-op shooter published by Square Enix.
Techland is another independent studio that could be an attractive get for Microsoft. It is the team that made the original Dead Island and then split off into Dying Light. The developer has shown long-term success with that game, publishing a year of updates that could mesh with Microsoft’s trend towards service games. Techland also owns the Call of Juarez IP, which is due for a revival after the excellent Gunslinger. Techland is currently working on Dying Light 2.
Third on ResetEra’s list is The Astronauts, the makers of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and the upcoming Witchfire. This is a smaller team that hasn’t really proven itself, although Ethan Carter made quite a splash upon its initial debut. The same can be said of The Farm 51, an independent studio that made a splash in recent years with indie horror title Get Even.
Other studios already spoken for in Poland include Flying Wild Hog (developer of Shadow Warrior, purchased by a financial group this year), CD Projekt Red (presumably too expensive for this type of deal), and Bloober Team (the makers of Layers of Fear, a publicly-traded company). Several industry insiders posted vague enough comments on the thread that it seems like something is in motion, but we’ll have to wait and see exactly what it is.