In the last decade, a common criticism against Xbox has been around a lack of story-driven experiences. Though Microsoft's wide-ranging slate of acquisitions these last few years may change that, Xbox Boss Phil Spencer has sought to address this during a recent interview.
Recently speaking with The Guardian, Spencer was asked whether there's room for more traditional narrative games on Xbox. Claiming there's more than we've ever seen before, Spencer advised the interviewer:
I think we’re probably building more of those now than we’ve been in the history of Xbox. Platform holders, whether that platform is subscription or a hardware device or a store, are actively investing in new and probably more risky things, because, if it works, we get value out of bringing players into the ecosystem.
Phil Spencer Says Xbox Is Building More Narrative-Driven Games Than Ever
Spencer wasn't alone in this sentiment, either. Joined by head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, he added that games are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Highlighting Double Fine as an example of a team who wouldn't commit to a multi-season project, as opposed to Halo and Sea Of Thieves, Booty stated:
We don’t have any direction or mandate that says every game has to be an ongoing, sustained game. Take [surrealist platforming game] Psychonauts: there might be a Psychonauts 3, but I’m not going to tell [designer] Tim Schafer to go make it. Knowing the history of games that he makes, I don’t think he’s going to be making a game that has seasons and goes on for five years.
Sea of Thieves has longevity and we’re going to have Halo multiplayer start to be based around seasons, but Compulsion Games, our studio in Montreal, weren’t told to go build something that’s going to have seasons or six pieces of DLC or something. Tell Me Why was an important story for us to get out there, but there is no mandate that they’ve got to go figure out how to do seasons for that game.
Sure enough, with games like Psychonauts 2, Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, The Outer Worlds 2, Avowed, Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI coming up, there's plenty of upcoming single player experiences from Xbox Game Studios. We'll keep you updated as/when we learn more about them.