The main discussion surrounding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard may have centered on Call of Duty’s future exclusivity, but what does the takeover mean for two other beloved franchises from the publisher’s library: Crash Bandicoot and Spyro?
Toys for Bob, the studio responsible for the excellent Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time and the Spyro The Dragon: Reignited, was later folded into supporting Call of Duty games, which seemed like a horrendous waste of resources and obviously jeopardized the possibility of any future Crash Bandicoot or Spyro games.
Thankfully, it seems that Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has plans to free some of Activision Blizzard’s smaller studios from the Call of Duty grind, which is great news for fans of the cheeky marsupial and little purple dragon.
“We’re hoping that we’ll be able to work with them when the deal closes to make sure we have resources to work on franchises that I love from my childhood, and that the teams really want to get,” Spencer told the Washington Post. “I’m looking forward to these conversations. I really think it’s about adding resources and increasing capability.”
Analysis: could we see Banjo-Kazooie return?
With a proven track record of resurrecting and remastering classic titles, Toys for Bob could also be the perfect developer to handle a long-requested Banjo-Kazooie game. The bird and bear haven’t received a genuine entry in the series since 2006’s Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, which was a divisive game, to say the least.
Beenox, another Activision Blizzard studio that was pulled into helping develop Call of Duty, could also benefit from Microsoft’s extra resources. The team made the excellent Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 along with Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, and it would be great to see Beenox work on more games of this ilk in the future.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has already said that it believes Microsoft could bring back Guitar Hero if the acquisition is successful.
“[Xbox Gaming CEO] Phil [Spencer] and I started riffing on things for the future,” Kotick said to VentureBeat. “I’ll give you three that are really compelling. I wanted to make a new Guitar Hero for a while, but I don’t want to add teams to do manufacturing and supply chain and QA for manufacturing. And the chip shortages are enormous.
“We didn’t really have the ability to do that. I had a really cool vision for what the next Guitar Hero would be, and realized we don’t have the resources to do that.”
Microsoft’s takeover of Activision Blizzard doesn’t just impact the future of Call of Duty, then. The company will gain access to a library of popular IPs and talented studios, some of which have remained dormant for too long. Hopefully, Microsoft can finally give them the attention they deserve.