Speaking with Stevivor last month in Sydney, Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, said that Microsoft Game Studios development houses will work together on certain projects, but not at the scale of Ubisoft and the Assassin’s Creed franchise, or EA using DICE’s Frostbite engine for more and more titles.
“With Forza Horizon III I think the great example we do have is the Turn 10 Team, which is in Redmond, Washington, and the Playground Team, which is in Leamington Spa in the UK. Turn 10 works on Forza Motorsport and Playground works on Forza Horizon, but they use a shared engine and pipeline. The technology advances that they make together, iteratively, as they launch each one of the franchises leads to a better product for both. It’s fantastic, because the technology advances faster.
Eagle-eyed gamers have commented that the oceans in Forza Horizon 3 look remarkably similar to those in Sea of Thieves, suggesting that Playground may have collaborated with Rare, but Spencer declined to comment.
“The work that a lot of the big third-parties will do in putting, say, Call of Duty has this as well,” Spencer continued without missing a beat.
“Somebody’s doing multiplayer, somebody’s doing single-player, somebody else might be doing co-op. Big triple-A games are now massive budgets. They’re on the scale of a blockbuster movie. First-party, we’re shipping on fewer platforms. For us, we’re shipping on Xbox and Windows.
“The idea that we would engage a thousand developers to go work on a first party game is probably not where we are. We probably choose things that we think are more linked to the platform work that we do. We want to make them big. Gears of War will be a huge game. Halo is a huge game. We’re doing really well with Forza Horizon. The idea that we’d have multiple studios pivot, I think, is probably more of a third-party thing just given the scale and the surface area that they ship into.”
Stay tuned for more with Spencer in the coming weeks.