Spencer’s gamer side has been seen in his recent remarks of bringing up some Activision-Blizzard classic games.
Spencer Wants To Bring Back Some Good Old Classics
Although some may think that Phil Spencer, the current CEO of Microsoft Gaming and Head of Xbox brand, may be a soulless corporate boss that won’t understand how gamers feel. But that particular perception towards him might change as he presented the idea of what gamers wanted from Activision-Blizzard a few years back when Bobby Kotick was still reigning over: bringing back the classic titles in a good way, not botched.
In a recent interview done with the Washington Post, Spence stated that idea when he was asked about the future of current and upcoming games from Activision-Blizzard before the historical acquisition deal that his parent company took.
Spencer proposed that idea as he saw the older IPs that the company had before the deal, and thought of bringing back some classic titles that have been loved by many fans, particularly those from the original Blizzard company before it was purchased by Activision in 2013.
What Are Some of The Classic Titles Spencer Wants?
As for the titles that Spencer specifically mentioned about bringing back to the eyes of the gaming public, he named a few IPs that haven’t come back quite in a while in the gaming market. Some names he mentioned were the following: King’s Quest, Guitar Hero, and HeXen.
HeXen: Beyond Heretic
For those who aren’t aware of what HeXen was during its heyday, HeXen: Beyond Heretic was originally a game from Raven Software, a small company when compared to Activision when the former was purchased by the latter in 1997. HeXen became a cult classic for many gamers (especially for PC gamers as it was first released on that platform) for its first-person shooter (FPS) gameplay mixed with fantasy elements (which was rare by that time).
HeXen was a sequel to the original game named Heretic (1994) and it itself produced a third title named HeXen II in the Heretic series, aptly named the “Serpent Raiders” trilogy dubbed by fans.
This graphic adventure title (also called point-and-click adventure titles) was originally developed and produced by the legendary game company Sierra Entertainment, Inc. (formerly On-Line Systems and Sierra On-Line, Inc.), the same company that was the original publisher of Valve’s original Half-Life. Without them, Half-Life would be a different game today in gaming’s history.
Sierra was then acquired by Vivendi SE, a French media conglomerate, and was renamed Vivendi Games in 2006. Shortly thereafter, it was acquired by Activision through the Vivendi merger in 2008. A company rebranding by Activision revived Sierra in 2014 to re-released some older titles and independently create new gaming IPs up until the present.
A rhythm-music series of games that is fairly known to later generations of gamers (specifically, gamers from 2005 onwards) have heard and played this title during their lives. RedOctane (known for making guitar controllers for Konami’s Guitar Freaks, the Japanese guitar rhythm-music game that Guitar Hero took inspiration from) was the original publisher and developer of this game, which was released in 2005. Two years later, RedOctane was acquired by Activision and boomed in popularity up until 2015.
Unfortunately, 2015 would be the last time the game released a new title sequel under its name as the fad for musical instrument peripherals, as well rhythm-music games in general, dropped in popularity during 2016 onwards, and never got a new title ever since.
Other Possible Classic Titles to be Revived by Microsoft
Aside from those mentioned titles above, Spencer also talked about other franchises under the Activision-Blizzard arsenal that were left behind in the bin due to either the lack of demand from players previously or the non-interest of higher-ups in the company during that time.
Titles such as Tony Hawk and Spyro the Dragon have been mentioned as potential candidates for revival, especially Tony Hawk as fans have been clamoring for a proper remake/reboot of the series since it was botched by Ride and Pro Skater 5. As for Spyro, it would be a good choice for a title to revive since there was recent emergence of mascot-based games such as Crash Bandicoot and Rayman Legends being successful as rebooted/remade titles for modern consoles and gaming platforms.
Spencer further added that they will redirect studios who have been shafted to do support work for other titles that hindered their growth and progress in making new games or sequels for other titles, such as the case with the studio responsible for the successful launch of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time being regulated to help other studios focused on bigger titles such as Call of Duty. Once they have been freed from those duties, they will be given free rein to dig up Activision-Blizzard’s vault of titles to work on.
Spencer’s Worries About Non-Gaming Companies Barging in the Gaming Market
In regards to the ever-changing space of the global gaming market and the push for the metaverse to be normalized, Spencer worriedly stated the presence of non-gaming tech companies forcing their way through the gaming market space, when compared to the current competition wherein experienced gaming companies such as Sony and Nintendo are very familiar with the said market.
Still, Spencer understands and still sees the side of those non-gaming tech companies joining the fray, knowing that there is a unique way on how things run on the gaming market.
Metaverse Issue: Spencer Sees it “Work-Only”, While Nadella Sees Otherwise
When it comes to the metaverse, Spencer only sees the said internet universe as a place for work only. However, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sees otherwise from Spencer’s view, as he envisioned the metaverse for the possibility of creating an enterprise metaverse, which he started in May 2021.
However, Spencer already believes that the concept of “metaverse” already exists and he pointed out the Activision-Blizzard live-service online MMORPG game World of Warcraft, with almost 116 million players currently active.
He said that the online players themselves are already primed for metaverse-like experiences, such as immersing themselves in their respective character’s lore, background, and role, having online identities akin to a second life, and activities that match the game settings such as raiding dungeons, forming alliances with clans, etc.