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Obsidian Studio Head Said Phil Spencer’s Authenticity Was an Important Factor for Its Acquisition

Obsidian Studio Head Said Phil Spencer’s Authenticity Was an Important Factor for Its Acquisition

William D’Angelo
, posted 1 day ago / 1,338 Views

Microsoft in November 2018 announced it acquired Obsidian Entertainment, as well as inXile Entertainment.

Obsidian Entertainment studio head Feargus Urquhart in an interview with IGN shared why the studio was willing to be acquired by Microsoft.

At the time he didn’t know Phil Spencer very well, but he had a reputation of being authentic and someone who loves games. He was also being sold that Xbox wants to let its acquired studios “be who they are” and retain their creative freedom and culture.

“I didn’t know Phil Spencer well at that time, I probably only talked to him once or twice up to that point,” said Urquhart. “But what’s so interesting with Phil is he is this- I don’t know. I don’t want to say ‘persona’ in the end, because he is Phil Spencer and because he runs all Microsoft games.

“But now knowing him, and even what I knew [about] him back then, his reputation was just someone who was authentic and someone who doesn’t BS and loves games. And that was the trust in that.”

Mary McGuane, who is the current studio general manager at Xbox Game Studios for Obsidian, Double Fine, and inXile, said changes at Microsoft and Xbox have been going on a lot longer than the public were aware of. 

She says changes started to happen back in 2014 with the acquisition of Mojang, which was steered by Matt Booty and pushed for a difference approach into the studio’s integration.

“Before [Mojang], it was: you’re a part of Microsoft,” McGuane said. “One day you’re [part] of this studio, the next day you’re fully Microsoft. And it had…varying success, I’ll say. So with Mojang, there was an approach taken that we like to call minimal integration, where we looked at the stuff we really needed to have fully integrated: and that’s like IT stuff and security policy, that kind of stuff.

“But then we really tried to create stability in these studios to not have the acquisition be something where the whole studio lost focus, where the studio was now trying to figure out this thing called Microsoft.”

A life-long and avid gamer, William D’Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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