Can Xbox Game Studios replace Bethesda and Bioware as the RPG kings?

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Who'd have thought that one day, Microsoft might be a leading RPG mega-publisher?
Once upon a time, I would've called both Bethesda Game Studios and Bioware my two top developers. Both studios are responsible for some of the best games ever made, including The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Mass Effect 2.
Full of player choice, breadth, and potentially hundreds of hours of gameplay, Western RPGs feel like a struggling breed, where mega=publishers like Bethesda and Bioware's respective parent companies, Zenimax and EA, realize they can make far more money with far less investment chasing mobile phone games and microtransaction-laden service games like Fallout 76 and Anthem. Both suffered their fair share of criticism for blandness, bugs, and, at worst, boredom-inducing gameplay. Despite that, both games enjoy an active fanbase of players who are presumably paying up in perpetuity, justifying EA and Zenimax's continued investment in these low-rent pseudo-RPG efforts.
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Fallout 76 is a far cry from Fallout 3.
There are signs that this online focus isn't permanent, though. Bethesda is working on The Elder Scrolls VI, which we can only hope isn't some weak multiplayer service game. Likewise, EA is still trucking along with a new Dragon Age title, despite several high-profile departures from Bioware's development team in recent years.
Indie developers have also put out some absolute bangers in recent years, including Larian's Divinity Original Sin II, and the recent Steam hit Disco Elysium is also making waves. And of course, we have Cyberpunk 2077 on the horizon, from RPG darlings CD Projekt RED.
Either way, it seems surprising then that it has become Microsoft, out of all of the larger publishers, who is stepping up to the RPG plate.

Full story from the WindowsCentral blog...
 

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