The Xbox Game Pass has given Microsoft more ammunition to justify the restart of older game franchises, the company’s game manager has said.
Xbox’s subscription service currently gives its around 20 million subscribers on-demand access to a large library of older games from the likes of Rare, Bethesda, Double Fine and more.
Speaking as part of the latest Kinda Funny Gamescast (currently subscriber only), Xbox CEO Phil Spencer said being able to track the popularity of older franchises made it easier to justify the green light of new installments, such as the upcoming Fable Restart of Playground.
Asked if player data for older games on Game Pass encourages franchise restarts, Spencer said: “Absolutely do it … take Prey, which I think was a great game when it came out, but many missed …
See more people play something like Prey, or Dishonored or go back to Fable and [that] you can talk about these games, for us when we sit back as a creative organization and look at what people are interested in, it gives us more data to think about things that we can pick up and move on with new ideas and new teams will do it.
“So yes, Game Pass has definitely been a good source … It was amazing when Bethesda came in, and we managed to put so many of the ‘old new’ games into Game Pass and go back with the legacy we have with some of IP … even thinking about Rare Replay was a very interesting thing for us to do and let people go and experience some of the old Rare IP. “
He added: “We want to continue with that, because Game Pass gives us a business model where it makes sense. It does not have to be one [game as a service] version of a game, it can just be “this game is sitting there” and people like it on the service. “
Spencer has already given the green light to a number of franchise restarts during his tenure as Microsoft’s head of gaming, including Battletoads, Flight Simulator and the upcoming new episodes of Fable and Perfect Dark.
The executor was also asked about the Rare Replay collection in 2015, and whether he would create a similar collection for another Microsoft studio, and immediately expressed a desire to re-release the games for the now closed FASA Interactive.
“This is not a preview of anything we are getting ready to announce, but when I think of the work that Jordan Weisman did, when I think of Shadowrun, Crimson [Skies], Mech [Warrior]”There are some wonderful, deep stories and worlds there,” he said.
“We did not do a good job as a company that managed the FASA acquisition, how it came about and the studio ended up … it was not our best moment as an Xbox. But the team there and the creative work they did with some of these franchises was so strong.
“There are some rights issues with some of these things, but if you ask me flat out if there was a studio in our past that I would love for us to be able to open the catalog and let more people play, FASA is definitely at the top of the list for me. ”