Last week’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft shocked each the gaming and enterprise worlds. In a submit printed to Xbox Wire, CEO of Microsoft Gaming Phil Spencer shared that after the deal goes by, Microsoft plans to supply lots of Activision Blizzard’s titles on its Game Pass service. While no particular titles had been talked about, Spencer wrote that Microsoft will put “both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog” on each PC and Xbox Game Pass.
As anticipated, followers in all places have gone wild imagining which outdated franchises from Activision and Blizzard historical past Microsoft will resurrect. While the plain decisions are titles from current historical past, like Overwatch, there are loads of hidden gems in each corporations’ vaults that might discover new audiences by Microsoft. Here are the titles and franchises we expect deserve a spot on the Game Pass roster.
World of Warcraft
Blizzard’s seminal MMO, which initially launched in 2004, is properly due for a refresh. While the sport continues to be churning out content material and expansions — the newest one, Shadowlands, got here out in 2020 — the venerable recreation appears to be shedding its footing to different fashionable video games within the MMO house, like Final Fantasy XIV.
While the sport’s advanced UI and PC-based management scheme doesn’t instantly lend itself to console gameplay, placing World of Warcraft on PC Game Pass may end in a large revitalization for the sport, significantly if followers don’t want a membership to play. A month-to-month subscription at present prices $15, which is identical value as Game Pass Ultimate. If a subscriber solely performed World of Warcraft throughout a given month and didn’t should pay an extra subscription price, the service would have already payed for itself.
It’s nearly sure that Spencer and Microsoft see this chance, but it surely stays to be seen whether or not recreation’s new writer will take the storied MMO in a brand new route or whether or not they may proceed with Blizzard’s established template for the sequence. ~ Emily Morrow
Another current Blizzard property that might see a resurgence on Game Pass is Overwatch. While a sequel is already on the best way, it appears to be mired in growth hell, and the unique title is now not receiving new playable characters. The Overwatch League can be struggling to keep up momentum because of the influence of COVID-19, although some followers hope that the acquisition will give the league a lift in manufacturing worth and sponsorships.
BlizzardWhile Overwatch is at present out there as a stand-alone title on Xbox platforms, placing it on Game Pass could be a good way to bridge the hole between its present standing and the eventual launch of Overwatch 2. Adding it to Game Pass would decrease the barrier to entry for brand spanking new gamers and will probably entice outdated gamers again with unique cosmetics or limited-time occasions. Overwatch advantages when there are extra gamers within the matchmaking pool. Allowing Game Pass subscribers the possibility to play the sport at no cost would put extra individuals again into the combo and enhance matchmaking for everybody concerned. ~ Emily Morrow
Outside of Blizzard’s many large franchises, there are some deep cuts within the Activision catalog that should see the sunshine of day by Game Pass. King’s Quest is a traditional journey recreation franchise that was initially created by developer Sierra. The sequence was actually in its heyday within the late ’80s and early ’90s, when it was a part of the “golden” period of journey video games.
There have been a number of tried revivals of King’s Quest, however with its large quantity of capital and sources, Microsoft may create one thing past something that’s been carried out earlier than. Including the titles on Game Pass would enable an entire new era to expertise one of many classics of the early PC period and discover how a complete style was constructed.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Spencer particularly talked about King’s Quest as one of many IPs he noticed in Activision’s catalog. (“I was looking at the IP list, I mean, let’s go!” he mentioned.) Most of the King’s Quest video games are nonetheless out there for buy on numerous on-line storefronts, however with entry to the IP by the acquisition, Microsoft is able to create the definitive multigame assortment for Game Pass. ~ Emily Morrow
Guitar Hero was one of many largest rhythm recreation franchises of the 2000s. Most gamers can keep in mind a time after they went over to a good friend’s home and busted out the plastic guitar, bass, and drum package for some rock star-style shredding. While the sport had some costly startup prices on account of all these peripherals, it was additionally one of the crucial distinctive arcade-style get together video games on the market. Alongside King’s Quest, Spencer additionally particularly talked about Guitar Hero within the Washington Post interview.
Right now, Guitar Hero lives on largely by derelict arcade machines in casinos and bowling alleys. Adding a number of the franchise and its hottest DLCs to Game Pass as a type of “complete edition” could be a good way to carry again that enjoyable rock ‘n’ roll feeling. Microsoft may even use the franchise to start out advertising Game Pass because the go-to vacation spot for get together video games. While an alternate management scheme would in all probability should be developed, as not everybody has the peripherals that the unique video games had been finest performed with, Guitar Hero continues to be a franchise that basically put rhythm video games on the map for informal audiences (sorry, Dance Dance Revolution). ~ Emily Morrow
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Another 2000s gem was the Tony Hawk franchise, a sequence of skateboarding titles beloved by a large legion of followers. The sequence’ enjoyable skating and nice soundtracks earned it a good quantity of crucial acclaim that coincided with Hawk’s fame as a professional skateboarder. However, later titles within the sequence weren’t as properly obtained, and Activision has carried out little with the IP since then moreover 2020’s remake of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2.
Game Pass is the right place for the Tony Hawk franchise to make a comeback. Tony Hawk’s sequence evokes nostalgia in lots of as we speak’s avid gamers, and Microsoft may simply use it to advertise the service. Its inclusion is also a litmus take a look at for future video games within the franchise, which might very doubtless be Game Pass exclusives.
It almost definitely received’t be the primary franchise that Microsoft thinks of when deciding what so as to add to Game Pass, however its inclusion would make it simpler to play one of many higher sports activities video games of the previous few a long time. ~ Emily Morrow
Here’s an actual throwback. For those that owned an unique Atari 2600, chances are you’ll keep in mind a bit recreation known as Pitfall! The journey title was basically gaming’s unique Uncharted. Players managed a bit explorer who swung on vines, jumped over crocodiles, and explored pits like Indiana Jones.
Pitfall! was one of many first Activision releases, which is a reminder of how deep the corporate’s historical past goes. Game Pass tends to deal with bringing scorching new video games to the platform, however is much less helpful for retro avid gamers. Outside of some PS3-era EA video games and early Xbox titles, Game Pass is sorely missing older video games. With the Activision Blizzard acquisition, Microsoft is in a robust place to protect a long time of historical past.
Pitfall! is a kind of building-block video games that’s elementary to gaming’s evolution. It deserves to be a family title, identical to the opposite video games on this checklist. Game Pass will help obtain that. ~ Giovanni Colantonio
True Crime: Streets of LA
Let’s finish issues on a really leftfield observe. True Crime: Streets of LA isn’t probably the most well-known Grand Theft Auto clone. The crime recreation appeared desperate to compete with Rockstar’s unshakable franchise in 2003 and it had some fast success. Initial gross sales had been sturdy and it gained a handful of nominations on the Spike Video Game Awards.
The franchise wasn’t lengthy for this world, although. It acquired a New York-set sequel in 2005, but it surely didn’t promote practically in addition to the primary recreation. That, mixed with tough evaluations, induced Activision to drop any plans for a sequel. Activision would finally drop its trademark on the sequence altogether.
That story is just a bit reminder that Activision’s historical past goes a lot deeper than Call of Duty. The firm used to take tons of dangers, attempting to invent fashionable IPs. In current years, that’s modified. The writer now solely tends to deal with surefire franchises that may rake in huge returns, however that’s not Microsoft’s technique. Game Pass’ worth comes from its amount of choices for all gamers. The extra video games that come to the service, the higher. I’m certain franchises like Crash Bandicoot can be flagship Game Pass titles shifting ahead, but it surely’s video games like True Crime that I’m extra desperate to see get a second wind. ~ Giovanni Colantonio