Bethesda in 2018-2019 VS Bethesda today + if Bethesda was to acquire someone, what studio would you see as the best candidate?

Bethesda’s output over the last 2 years

I really feels that Bethesda has rebounded in a big way from the painful years 2018 and 2019 which saw multiple critical flops (if not all), a crappy mobile game attempt, controversies and Bethesda’s reputation tarnished and trashed online.

  • Fallout 76 (53 OC)

  • The Elder Scrolls Blades (37)

  • RAGE 2 (71)

  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood (67)

  • Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (49)

Average: 55/100

What a mess

They’re now one of the most consistent publisher among the major ones in terms of high-quality products and commitment for their Live-Service games and legacy library.

Plus they have the resources of Microsoft from now on and an incredibly large network of studios to talk with and share experience when needed in the future years (BGS with Obsidian, inXile and Playground, id/ Arkane/ Machinegames with the COD studios and 343, ZeniMax Online with Blizzard, Alpha Dog with King…).

  • DOOM Eternal (89) - 13 GOTY (id Software)

  • DEATHLOOP (88) - 35 GOTY (Arkane Lyon)

  • Ghostwire Tokyo (77) (Tango Gameworks)

Average: 84/100


  • The Elder Scrolls Online passed 20 million players in January 2022

  • Fallout 76 managed to survive its launch and passed 11 million players in October 2021

  • Skyrim was confirmed to have sold “far higher” than 30 million in November 2021 (Skyrim hit 30M in 2016)


  • The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle - June 6 (ZeniMax Online)

  • Redfall - Summer (Arkane Austin)

  • Fallout 76: Expeditions The Pitt - Fall (BGS)

  • Starfield - November 11 (BGS)

Beyond 2022 (announced):

  • Indiana Jones (Machinegames)

  • The Elder Scrolls VI (BGS)

Feels good again to be a fan of Bethesda.


I wouldn’t mind Bethesda Softworks/ZeniMax making some select acquisitions to continue expand their studios count (8) once ABK is completed. I think there is a lot of room for inorganic growth compared to XGS (15) and ABK (13).

Bethesda especially went on acquiring at 2 moments:

  • 2009/2010: id Software, Arkane, Tango Gameworks, Machinesgames (4 studios)
  • 2019: Roundhouse, Alpha Dog (2 smaller studios)

If MS was to acquire 1 or 2 new studios for Bethesda/ZeniMax (as a subsidiary like Embracer’s Saber acquiring Aspyr), who would you choose or think would fit their culture/identity ?

:arrow_forward: Bethesda came really close to acquiring Relic Entertainment in 2013 but failed the bid to SEGA ($26.3M vs $26.6M).

:arrow_forward: I think 4A Games would have been great with Metro to go alongside Fallout but Embracer already bought them for only $36M (it was so cheap seriously :sleepy:)

:arrow_forward: They also worked a lot with Nightdive Studios on the DOOM and Quake remasters but not sure if an acquisition would make sense. 23 people on LinkedIn.

:arrow_forward: Obviously there is Avalanche Studios Group too (as id Software co-developped RAGE and RAGE 2 with them, their only partnership outside of Obsidian with New Vegas and Nightdive). Based in Sweden like Machinegames. Worked on the Just Cause games (IP belongs to Square Enix) and are currently doing Contraband with XGSP. But it’s not an independant studio as it belongs to Nordisk Films. 531 people on LinkedIn.

:arrow_forward: I also believe that it would be great if Tango had a sister-studio in Japan but I don’t see any notable/interesting candidate for an acquisition (and I’m not convinced that Platinium Games is worth buying for MS, especially after Babylon’s Fall which turned out to be a complete turd).

:arrow_forward: Something more random but I was thinking Bohemia Interactive (ARMA, DayZ). Strong modding and PC community too. But no idea of their value (Tencent has acquired a minority stake in 2021). 338 people on Linkedln.

Thinking about this made me realize there aren’t much notable independant studios left outside of publishers…


Obsidian :philwins:

But for real, I think Asobo would fit well under Bethesda. No specific reason, but if they were acquired and there was somehow a choice either Asobo goes under XGS or Bethesda, I’d go with Bethesda.

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They were just acquired for 200 million this month by BAE.

Relic was ridiculously cheap.

Metro is a fantastic franchise but they had already sold the Metro publishing rights to Koch (Embracer) so it did make sense for the devs to go to Embracer too.

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Avalanche makes sense. Rage is really underrated and I would love a third entry.


Thanks for putting in the work, it really makes a stark contrast when you lay it all out like that. Glad they seem to be on an upswing, I’ve always had a soft spot for them.

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Each time I hear Avalanche I do wonder if they would have to acquire Nordisk Film’s entire gaming division (Avalanche, Expansive World’s & Systemic Reaction).

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I think we could like 5-10 years down the line see some studios that are culture fits move between Xbox publishers. Raven, Obsidian and InXile could all be great with Bethesda although I’d argue Obsidian and InXile are more than happy under XGS. Raven should be moved to the house of Id.

Regardless, Bethesda has done a good job turning stuff around and there are teams I could see as a good culture fit including:

  • IOI (cut from the same cloth as Arkane)
  • Remedy (although that’s off the table due to it being public I feel)
  • Eidos Montreal
  • Behaviour Interactive
  • Creative Assembly
  • Relic (as you mentioned)
  • Nightdive (again as you mentioned)
  • Larian
  • Platinum Games
  • Vanillaware
  • Superhot Team
  • Monolith
  • Otherside Entertainment
  • Crytek
  • Hi-Rez Studios
  • Prophecy Games
  • Dreamwalker
  • Humanoid
  • Shiro Games
  • Panache Digital
  • Nerve Software
  • Starbreeze
  • Teyon
  • Hello Games

That was their military simulation division. The game dev is still independent.

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Interesting list and a lot of names I never heard off.

Eidos would be great if SE was willing to sell their western arm someday.

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Avalanche and Behavoir Interactive would be my number 1 candidates. I feel IOI and Certain Affinity would fit in excellently with them as well.

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Personally I want Microsoft to acquire WB and rename it to Midway. Then acquire Square West and form back Eidos branch with Eidos, CD, IO.

Don’t know what studios can be acquired by Bethesda, however I doubt any existing one will be moved to another branch.

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Starbreeze is the remnants of old Starbreeze and Overkill. They’re public but cheap (market cap < 100 mil). They’re near Machinegames, have history (albeit not all good!) with staff overlap and Payday 2 sold a gazillion copies.

Asobo is a French studio with serious technical chops and could be bffs with Arkane.

IOI is Danish and has a Swedish branch. Also technically competent.

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Rage is rated right where it deserves to be.

I think Platinum under Bethesda could be a good fit.

IOI would also do well under Bethesda, I’d say.

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Wolfeye Studios

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I know Xbox isn’t hurting for IP, but out of curiosity what IP does Starbreeze own? Looking at the games they’ve developed, it seems they’ve mostly worked on licensed stuff.

I’m pretty sure they own Payday, but I think that may be it.

edit: I just clicked through on the various titles in their gameography, and it seems they may also own the IP to first two games they ever made: The Outforce and Enclave.

I’d like to think Bethesda still has the freedom to push for acquisitions that they think fit them, hard to really say though. Either way, I imagine if any studios were to end up under Bethesda it’d be teams started by people associated with Bethesda. Ikumi Nakamura formerly of Tango Gameworks has just opened up a new studio for example, though I’m not sure how much she’d want to be under Bethesda she seemed relatively negative about dealing with publisher politics.

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MachineGames was founded by ex-Starbreeze people, the majority of the team who worked on Riddick and The Darkness. So Xbox/Bethesda already has the talent from Starbreeze, they don’t need the company itself. Machine long ago surpassed Starbreeze in terms of output, quality and public perception.


My dude, who wouldn’t be a good fit under Bethesda, with a list like that?!?


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Level 5 and Platinum would be best under Bethesda. Working with Tango.

Avalanche Studios would make sense for Bethesda anything other than that would be a bonus.