Microsoft acquires CRPG heavyweights Obsidian and InXile

For years Microsoft's touted renewing its commitment to PC gaming. Today's announcements might actually keep that promise.

Credit: IDG / Hayden Dingman

For years Microsoft's talked about renewing its commitment to PC gaming, with mixed results. Today's announcements might signal an actual push though. At its XO18 event in Mexico City, Microsoft announced it's acquiring not one but two PC-centric developers, Obsidian and InXile.

It's a huge play. Both spun out of legendary publisher Interplay—InXile founded by Interplay's "leader in exile" Brian Fargo, while Obsidian emerged from the ashes of Black Isle Studios. Both have been perpetually cash-strapped, turning to Kickstarter to fund Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity, and involved with game crowdfunding platform Fig in some capacity.

And both have consistently delivered some of the best RPGs in the industry. Wasteland 2 picked up our Game of the Year prize back in 2014 for its excellent writing and throwback isometric CRPG vibe, while Obsidian's been lauded for years for everything from Fallout: New Vegas to Pillars of Eternity to Alpha Protocol to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II.

Some of those games eventually came to consoles as well, and Microsoft's undoubtedly looking to bolster its Xbox lineup with InXile and Obsidian titles. They're still considered primarily PC-centric studios though, which is a definite shift from the acquisitions Microsoft announced at E3 2018 (such as Hellblade developer Ninja Theory).

It's also probably the biggest play Microsoft's made for first-party dominance since...well, since the Xbox One launched. Microsoft's struggled this generation, releasing a few decent exclusives like Halo 5 and the Forza Horizon series but struggling to keep up with Sony's output. Giving Obsidian and InXile the funding to make sweeping open-world RPGs though? That could make next generation pretty interesting.

The deal seems pretty sweet for Obsidian and InXile as well. Both studios are known for making niche games on small budgets, with plenty of delays and often a ton of bugs at release—a sign that the final product was probably rushed out the door. With Microsoft's backing, perhaps they'll get the time and structure they need to make some truly classic RPGs, without worrying too much about day-to-day operations or where the next paycheck's coming from.

Or maybe it'll go terribly awry and we'll lose two of the best RPG studios in existence. There's always that possibility. Hell, Microsoft canceled an Obsidian game it had in development at the beginning of the Xbox One's life cycle, making this acquisition even weirder.

I'll keep my fingers crossed though, as I love the work Obsidian and InXile do and would love to see what they can make with a more stable foundation. And hey, no more obligatory crowdfunding campaigns. That's a relief.

No details regarding what either studio's working on yet, and at this point I imagine we'll have to wait until the beginning of the next console generation to find out. That's rumored to start in 2020 or thereabouts, which seems to line up with a hypothetical game development timeline. We'll update you as soon as we know more though.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Hayden Dingman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?