Todd Howard has shared his thoughts on Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda's parent company, Zenimax (opens in new tab). In a blog post (opens in new tab) released this afternoon, the Fallout and Elder Scrolls director said that Microsoft would help share the studio's "deep belief in the fundamental power of games."
In his post, Howard describes Microsoft as Bethesda's "longest, and closest partner," and says that the paths of both Xbox and Bethesda "in many ways have gone hand in hand." Microsoft began development of their first console in 1999, the same year that Bethesda joined ZeniMax Media. Howard says that he was dubious about bringing his next game, Morrowind, to the new platform, but eventually came around to the Xbox team's view—"shouldn't we allow anyone to have this experience? Why does it matter where the screen is or what the controller is?"
Later on, Howard says that "like our original partnership, this one is about more than one system or one screen," claiming that Bethesda and Microsoft "share a deep belief in the fundamental power of games, in their ability to connect, empower, and bring joy. And a belief that we should bring that to everyone."
That doesn't exactly scream 'Xbox exclusivity' for the games that will come from this partnership. Microsoft is now tied to some major names. As well as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Bethesda's next IP, Starfield (opens in new tab), the company owns the rights to Doom, Dishonored, and Wolfenstein. But Howard's implication here is that the future of those games won't be tied to a single platform. That said, Microsoft is unlikely to have paid out $7.5 billion to share those franchises with PlayStation users, and with Xbox Series X pre-orders opening tomorrow, this could be a very well-timed acquisition.