It’s undeniable that Playground Games are a super talented bunch. The folks have managed to put out the most consistently high selling and high rated games for Microsoft and Xbox this generation, and they have managed to single handedly keep arcade racing alive in an era when other developers are moving away from it.
But if you believe what creative director Ralph Fulton has to say, their best work is still ahead of them. Speaking to Games Industry, Fulton said that the acquisition by Microsoft enables Playground Games to take on many opportunities as a first party studio.
We’ve had this incredible relationship [with Microsoft], but we’ve always been a third-party. That independence has meant there are certain things [Microsoft] can’t share with us, or that we can’t work on together,” he said.
“One of the real opportunities of our new status as a first-party studio is being on the inside of all the things Xbox is doing to push gaming forwards. We’re really excited about Matt [Booty, head of Microsoft Studios]’s vision for first-party. Being on the inside of that, being about to participate as a first-party studio, will enable us to do more.
“And ultimately when we think about the teams back at Playground, that will be to their benefit. I genuinely believe our best is yet to come because of this.”
I think that this actually is one of those relationships that will end up benefitting both parties immensely. Playground does already have a great rapport with Microsoft, and now that is formalized further, with them getting the security and backing of one of the richest and biggest corporations in the world. Meanwhile, Microsoft gets to ensure that this hugely talented team is brought into the fold, and continues supplying games exclusively for Xbox. I see no downside for anyone involved overall.
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