Phil Spencer’s No-BS attitude helped convince Obsidian to join Xbox



One of the key acquisitions Microsoft made when it began to build its number of first-party studios several years ago was Obsidian Entertainment. The studio behind Neverwinter Nights 2 and Pillars of Eternity joined the Xbox games division in 2018, in a deal initiated by Microsoft.

Microsoft wanted games; Obsidian wanted creative freedom to develop the kinds of games she was passionate about. Four years later, the deal saw the company produce the well-received RPG The Outer Worlds, survival video game Grounded, and begin work on Avowed, a new fantasy RPG that will be exclusive to Xbox Series X | S and PC.

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According to Feargus Urquhart, head of studio Obsidian, Xbox’s acquisition philosophy and promise to allow the studio to retain its creative freedom and culture were the main selling points of the deal in 2018. of business development Noah Musler helped convince him to join Team Xbox, but it was Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer who helped seal the deal.

“I didn’t know Phil Spencer well at the time, I’ve probably only spoken to him once or twice so far,” Urquhart told IGN. “But what’s so interesting about Phil is that he’s this – I don’t know – I don’t want to say ‘persona’ at the end, because he’s Phil Spencer and because he manages all Microsoft games. But now, knowing him, and even what I knew of him at the time, his reputation was just someone who was genuine and someone who isn’t BS and loves games. And it was the confidence in that.

From there, Obsidian was brought into the fold and joined Ninja Theory, Playground Games, and several other studios that year to help form a “new Microsoft” for developers. On last week’s Xbox and Bethesda Showcase, Obsidian showed off more of its work, which includes Grounded’s release from early access and Pentiment, which is helmed by longtime director Josh Sawyer.

Described as a murder mystery set in the 16th century, Pentiment has a unique look inspired by feudal manuscripts from the era and is set to release on Xbox and PC consoles later this year.

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