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Forums - Microsoft Discussion - [Soft-locked DO NOT POST] Is MS focusing too much on quantity over quality with their 1st party games?

Well, they have too many fronts at once (XBox, the PC Microsoft Store, their cloud effords, games released on other platforms...), no wonder they need many games.

You know it deserves the GOTY.

Come join The 2018 Obscure Game Monthly Review Thread.

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I'm confused by your title and OP, your title is talking about Quality/Quantity but your OP is talking about AAA vs AA (AAA doesn't automatically = Quality). As pointed out in your own example, Ori is a smaller title but an amazing one nonetheless and higher quality than a lot of AAA's.

Ninja Theory's Bleeding Edge was in development prior to acquisition but like you've pointed out, they're making Hellblade II. Obsidian is working on Grounded with 15 employees in a 200+ studio, they are also working on a AAA RPG. The Initiative isn't rumoured at all to be working on multiple small projects, they're outright confirmed to be working on a AAA title.

Gears Tactics is likely closer to AAA than AA (Which only refers to the budget of a title) and if we go through their studios it's like this...

  • 343 Industries - AAA
  • The Coalition - AAA
  • The Initiative - AAA
  • Turn 10 - AAA
  • Playground Games Racing Team - AAA
  • Playground Games RPG Team - AAA
  • Rare - AAA.
  • Obsidian - AAA & AA (Multiple Teams).
  • InXile - AAA (Per Job Postings) & AA.
  • Ninja Theory - AA (I don't think Hellblade II will be AAA Tbh but somewhere in between AA-AAA).
  • Undead Labs - AA-AAA (State of Decay 3 is rumoured, speculated to go AAA, Matt Booty IIRC spoke about it too).
  • Mojang - AA
  • Compulsion Games - AA
  • Double Fine - AA
  • World's Edge - AAA
  • XGP - Mixed.

We could honestly call Mojang as a studio AAA too cause again, this A-numbering only refers to budget and Mojang Seattle has hundreds of employees all working on Minecraft but I'm basing their current ranking on their new projects. This arbitrary "is a game AA or AAA" is pointless to me, what matters most is if the game is good, but yeah, AAA pushes consoles more I guess? But Microsoft has a good mix of AAA and AA in development.

Also worth pointing out that the studios that had multiple teams, had multiple teams prior to Xbox acquiring them too, Obsidian was always a very efficient studio (They kinda had to be to survive) and releases both quantity and quality.

Last edited by Ryuu96 - on 07 April 2020

Quantity is not bad in itself. It’s only bad if they score poorly. Bleeding Edge just barely missed the 70 score on metacritic but Ori scored a 90.

It’s more of a brand image shift then anything else. People said Xbox doesn’t have any exclusives? Well now they got more titles being pumped out then PS in 2020. That’s a huge difference then from not long ago.

Smaller games aren’t system sellers in themselves. But who says they can’t sell well within their own ecosystem and find a audience? And collectively, as more and more titles come out, Game Pass in itself can be classified as a system seller.

I’d say as long as they have 2 AAA games every year that’s enough for system selling potential. Halo Infinite and Forza 8 are 2 AAA games this year. Ori, Bleeding Edge, Gears Tactics, Tell Me Why, Battletoads pad out the rest.

I’d list Minecraft Dungeons, Wasteland 3, and Psychonauts 2 but MS  keeping the multiplat deals in place. But certainly you can’t say they are the Halo Gears Forza console anymore and that’s a win.  

In the end more isn’t a bad thing, it’s exactly what the brand needs right now. Just gotta make sure they score well.

Last edited by sales2099 - on 07 April 2020

Xbox: Best hardware, Game Pass best value, best BC, more 1st party genres and multiplayer titles. 


Microsoft needs to work on both, so I’m fine if they improve either. Their game output this gen hasn’t been great. They need to recapture their early 360 days...

goopy20 said:
Azzanation said:

Didnt Ori 2 reach critical acclaim..?

There is nothing wrong with AA games. The studios at MS have a AAA and AA team. Games like Bleedings Edge is not a bad game, its a game. Hellblade 2 and Project Mara are the releases you need to watch.



Gears Tactics 

Wasteland 3


Halo Infinite 

Psychonauts 2

Age of Empires 4

Look at the variety, tell me a better variety of games due out this year? There is a game for everyone and they all look appealing and fun in there own way.

Thats not including titles coming from Turn 10, The Intinitive, Playground Games, Compulsion and Undead Labs. 

These studios are doing exactly what others denie them doing, and thats creative freedom. They are doing what they like and it looks exciting.

Maybe you're right and I'm sure they will be cool games. Still, I don't think any of those games will get people as fired up compared to something like TLOU2, GOW, HZD2 for example. Obviously, there's still Halo, but wouldn't you like to see some new AAA ip's from MS?

Well to be fair the games you listed are releasing in different years. One is 2020, GOW was 2018, and HZD was what 2017? The sequel doesn’t formally exist yet. Most of the Xbox titles you quoted are either 2020 or 2021. 

Halo Infinite is surely the front runner for getting people fired up about the Xbox brand. They always come with heavy marketing and the game aims to return the franchise back to its roots. Hellblade 2, The Initiatives IP will likely be announced at MSs digital “E3” conference, Obsidian is working exclusive AAA RPGs now. Playground is now a double AAA studio making Forza Horizon and the rumoured RPG. Coalition makes AAA Gears and Turn 10 makes AAA Forza Motorsport

That’s 8 AAA games by my count. So ya, I don’t mind the smaller games padding out the year when Xbox has enough AAA to go around now. 

Last edited by sales2099 - on 07 April 2020

Xbox: Best hardware, Game Pass best value, best BC, more 1st party genres and multiplayer titles. 


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I'm not sure why this thread is even a thing, considering we've yet to see all these new titles MS has those acquired studios working on. We're not going to see them for at least another year or 3.

Also, for talk of having games like TLOU2, GoW and all that jazz, that's the same IP's from at least 2 decades ago, if not a close decade, which is used within the same vein argument, that I constantly see being used against the likes of Halo and Gears. C'mon, if you're gonna use heavy hitters from t he Sony side, at least use brand new, never done before ideas, instead of rehashed existing IP's, from within the past 20 years.

I really don't feel like that is true at all. MS is focusing on all different kinds of game experiences. I don't see Sony or Nintendo releasing anywhere near the diversity of games that MS has in the pipeline right now. Games scheduled this year or already released include;
Minecraft Dungeons(Getting very positive impressions)
Gears Tactics(Been in development for sometime now, getting positive previews)
Wasteland 3(Won best RPG at Gamescom last year)
Ori 2(Has a 90 on Metacritic)
Flight simulator(The game looks visually stunning)
Halo Infinite(Been in development for years now, MS biggest IP)
Age of Empires 4(Gonna be a huge game for PC gamers, I'm sure will be high quality)
Psychonauts 2(from the gameplay and previews, it looks great)
Tell me Why(Looks similar to other DontNod games, I'm sure will be good)
Grounded(Small project going into game preview this summer, looks fun and aimed for kids)
Battletoads(This one might be a dud, they haven't shown anything off in awhile)
Bleeding Edge(It got okay reviews, lack of content is its biggest flaw)
Forza 8(Not officially announced but chances are high for a XSX launch title)

Out of all the games listed for releasing this year or possibly next, Bleeding Edge (68)and Battletoads will be the lowest scoring. I think that pretty good when looking at all the games as a whole.

Is this really the best time to ask this question when A ) Most of the studios Microsoft have acquired have not yet released the games they've worked on since their acquisition and B ) Most of the Sony (Microsoft's main competitor) games (funded by Sony or timed-exclusive for them) which have released in the past year have received critical praise at least decently lower than people were expecting, if not outright significantly lower.

I know Metacritic = / = quality but we act like that all the time on this site and now is no reason to change, especially if we're just referring to critical reception. Days Gone, Death Stranding, MediEvil, and now (albeit to a much lesser extent) Final Fantasy 7 Remake have all received scores lower than what most people were expecting. You could even throw Shenmue 3 in there, though it is a console-exclusive, and Concrete Genie, though that's a smaller first party IP that never had much expectations from the general public, however I'll include it because those are the kind of games OP is literally referring to. Many of these are games that have had hype-cycles for years, people had to wait for them forever and when they arrived they were messy blobs. Playstation's first party studios are generally more proven, and they probably will be for quite a while, but that's just more reason for Xbox to step up to the occasion.

When you look at a list of Death Stranding, Days Gone, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Shenmue 3, Concrete Genie, MediEvil, do you honestly see a focus on quality? Or easy marketing montages for E3s of yesteryear? A more appropriate question might be, is Sony paying too much money for Japanese Timed-Exclusives?

And as for Nintendo? It might be nice to get more than one new game every 6 months, and good third party support to boot!

JRPGfan said:
goopy20 said:

I totally get MS's reasoning behind GP, at least from a business sense, but do you guys think MS studios should all be doing multiple smaller projects to keep GP content fresh, or would you like to see them focus more on larger scale AAA titles?

Obviously we don't know exactly what they're all working on but take Ninja Theory for example. They're making Hellblade 2 but they also just released Bleeding Edge and are doing Project Mara as well. Obsidian's new game Grounded also looks like a small scale project and the Initiative apparently also has multiple "small" projects they're working on. It just feels like there's a very strong indie vibe to all the games we're seeing from MS's 1st party studios, even though I'm sure a lot of them will turn out to be great. Hell, Gears tactics looks more interesting than Gears 4 or 5 and I loved Ori. However, those are not typically the kind of games I would buy a next gen console for.

The good:
Ori and the blind forest - 88
Ori and the will of the wisps - 90
Gears 4 - 84
Gears 5 - 84
Halo: The Master Chief Collection - 85
Halo 5: Guardians - 84
Forza Horizon 3 - 91 (+ Hot Wheels - 87)
Forza Horizon 4 - 92
Forza Motorsport 6 - 87
Forza Motorsport 7 - 86
Quatum Break - 77
Killer Instinct - 73
Sunset Overdrive - 81

The bad (and or ugly):
Bleeding edge - 68  (has 13 viewers on twitch right now. Intrest seems really low)
Crackdown 3 - 60 (has 1 viewer on
Recore - 63
State of decay 2 - 66
Sea of theives - 69
Super Lucky's Tale - 64
Zoo Tycoon: ultimate Animal collection - 70
Rush: A disney/pixar adventure - 68
Disneyland Adventures - 67
Phantom Dust - 73
Voodoo Vince: Remastered - 69
Halo Wars 2 - 79
Dead Riseing 4 - 72
Project Spark - 73

Microsoft does just as many good, as they do these smaller terrible games.
If its Forza/Gears/Halo, its likely a good game. Those guys that make "Ori" seem to make enjoyable platformers too.

Alot of these multiplayer focused games that review poorly, are just left to die a week or two after release.
State of decay 2, seems to have "stuck" around better (than crackdown 3 or Bleeding edge).

I think its a bad strategy to focus so much on these multiplayer focused games, theres too many of them, most are poor quality.
Big AAA games from multiplats, do things so much better that these games are basically just fighting a loseing battle from the start.
Its almost unavoidable, that they just end up left for dead.

I'm pretty sure that most X1 gamers actually stream on Mixer instead of Twitch.  So Mixer is a much better indicator on how popular any given X1 title is.

I like big AAA games, but since MS have a diverse public they may have games of all scales and scopes.

duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

Azzanation: "PS5 wouldn't sold out at launch without scalpers."