Microsoft pulled off what may be one of the biggest jaw droppers for the year when they announced that they’re in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard, one of the world’s biggest third party publishers. Activision Blizzard, besieged by the current scandal of toxic work culture, seems like a weird purchase but it’s actually one filled with huge potential.
Modern gamers may know Activision Blizzard from their big franchises like Call of Duty, Diablo or Overwatch. Hardcore gamers though know that there’s a veritable goldmine of slumbering I.P.s that Microsoft can add to their already sizeable lineup. Stuff from waaaaaaay back that modern gamers have never even heard of.
Blizzard alone has more than its fare share of nostalgia inducing I.P.s such as Blackthorne (which is just begging for a gritty reboot in the vein of Gears of War!) and the Lost Vikings. Its dormant StarCraft franchise can easily be resurrected, especially as Microsoft already has a proven track record of raising from the dead its RTS Age of Empires series. The latest, Age of Empires IV, is an incredible RTS game and more than proves Microsoft’s (and Ensemble Studios’) RTS prowess.
Imagine if they, plus the crew at Blizzard, got down to making a new StarCraft. RTS fanboys will probably have a heart attack. I’d probably join them. Or hell, imagine Microsoft announcing a remake of the cancelled StarCraft: Ghost.
Activision too has a host of old school franchises that could make huge impacts if resurrected and done well.
Interstate 76 (and its Vigilante 8 spin-offs) could easily give Sony’s rumored Twisted Metal remake a run for its car combat money. Sim fans still hold the Caesar franchise in high regard. Hell, I regularly play Caesar IV on Steam to this day. It took could herald a majestic return to form if Microsoft puts its muscle behind the series’ resurrection.
Don’t discount the power of old school point and click franchises like the Quest (Space and Police) series or the horrific Phantasmagoria games, which brought horror (along with the 7th Guest series) to the forefront for PC gamers in the 90s! With horror games being a very popular genre now, a brand new, modern Phantasmagoria game could certain take the world by storm, especially as EA readies its much anticipated Dead Space remake for release.
While it’s easy to see the value of Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard for modern franchises, it’s the slumbering I.P.s that may prove to be the best things to come out of this potential purchase.
Microsoft’s shown that it’s not hesitant to reawaken old franchises for the new age, so here’s hoping that they resurrect some of these powerhouses for a fresh go round in the coming years. For gamers, young and old, this might just mean the best is yet to come.
For Sony and Nintendo though…it might mean the direct opposite.