Last week news dropped
(and the Xbox
division) was acquiring Activision Blizzard
in a deal worth over $68 billion USD. A staggering amount to be sure, though in terms of videogame acquisitions there's nothing about it that isn't staggering. And with the shadow of Call of Duty
looming large over the deal it's worth reminding yourself just what's on the table.
On the Blizzard side alone there's Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Overwatch, and retro classics like Lost Vikings and Blackthorne. Although it hasn't really done all that much with the IPs in many years, Activision (and by extension Microsoft) owns Sierra stuff. Fans of classic PC gaming will know the names King's Quest, Space Quest, Gabriel Knight, and others.
Outside of Activision's incredible success in mobile gaming, the PC legacy of Activision Blizzard and its properties looks to be the most exciting part of this deal. A fact not lost on Xbox Head Honcho, Phil Spencer. In an interview over at The Washington Post
he said, “I was looking at the IP list, I mean, let’s go! King’s Quest, Guitar Hero, I should know this but I think they got HeXen."
In many ways Activision has been sitting comfortably focusing on a few key titles, namely Call of Duty. The publisher has also found success dipping its toes back into Crash Bandicoot and Tony Hawk waters, but for the most part its portfolio consists of whatever time-period the latest CoD is set.
The good news is that this Xbox deal will spark a renewed look at the back-catalogue of titles in the vault. “We’re hoping that we’ll be able to work with them when the deal closes to make sure we have resources to work on franchises that I love from my childhood, that the teams really want to get,” Spencer adds. “I’m looking forward to these conversations. I really think it’s about adding resources and increasing capability.”
At the very least we should see this huge history start showing up on Xbox Game Pass on PC. And with Call of Duty support studios like Raven and others set free - maybe we'll get that brand-new HeXen.