Last year, Warner Brothers was looking to unload some of its game development studios.
Studios like Rocksteady, Warner Bros Games, NetherRealm Studios, and more were rumored to be up for auction. One of the main players to acquire one of these studios was Microsoft.
Due to WB merging with another company, the development studios were taken off of the market, or so we thought.
Recently, it has been rumored that Mortal Kombat developer NetherRealm Studios and LEGO games developer TT Games were available to purchase.
While there are many companies that can acquire these incredible studios, Microsoft should strongly consider purchasing them to fix some of the weaknesses in their first-party catalog.
NetherRealm Studios has a storied history developing some of the best fighting games.
Taking over the Mortal Kombat franchise in 2011, NetherRealm rebooted the series and gave it a story mode that combined the plots from Mortal Kombat games of the past.
The critical reception for the reboot was phenomenal and was a fantastic reason to own a console in 2011.
The success of the story mode from Mortal Kombat gave the studio enough confidence to create their own original fighting game based on DC characters called Injustice.
Both Injustice and its sequel Injustice 2 were critically acclaimed for their story modes and its ability to let fans have fun with their favorite DC superheroes and villains.
One major reason for Xbox to purchase NetherRealm is for one franchise only, Killer Instinct.
It was revealed recently that Xbox wants to bring back their exclusive fighting franchise, but it would only work if the franchise was paired with the right team.
Rare was the developer to reboot the franchise in 2013, but it didn’t find its footing to go up against the other major players in the fighting game genre.
When you look at the long list of studios that Xbox currently owns, there aren’t many studios that have fighting game experience.
They could easily give it to a studio like Compulsion Games just to see how they would handle it, but if the game doesn’t feel right, Killer Instinct might need to wait another decade to be rebooted for yet another audience and another console generation.
Bringing in NetherRealm to develop Killer Instinct and have some Mortal Kombat-Esque executions could make it a must-play for fighting game fanatics.
Given the acclaim for the story mode in both Mortal Kombat and Injustice, NetherRealm could create a captivating story that would introduce the characters to brand new players and reintroduce them to players who have given Killer Instinct a chance in the past.
Killer Instinct deserves another reboot, and NetherRealm could be the developer to finally bring this franchise to the spotlight.
Another major aspect of the acquisition of NetherRealm is to make their IP exclusive to Xbox consoles.
Currently, the Street Fighter franchise is exclusive to PlayStation consoles through a licensing deal with Capcom.
Having Mortal Kombat and Injustice be exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem would be a huge gain. Players won’t necessarily need to own an Xbox to play the games, but they would need a Game Pass subscription.
Whether they play the fighting games on PC or through xCloud, that is just the first step to bringing players to the eventual purchase of a Series X or Series S console.
Bringing in NetherRealm along with Injustice and Mortal Kombat would fill the void in the fighting genre. It could also lead to a Mortal Kombat tournament which could be just as big as a Capcom Cup that PlayStation sponsors every single year.
In order to compete in this highly valuable game genre, Xbox needs to have its own heavy hitter. If Killer Instinct isn’t going to take that mantle, it would make sense for either Mortal Kombat or Injustice to carry the torch and represent Xbox on the fighting game stage.
TT Games has a storied history of taking famous franchises and giving them the LEGO treatment.
Due to the nature of TT Games developing mostly LEGO games, their main demographic is the younger generation of gamers.
Xbox has had plenty of trouble developing games for the younger audience.
A franchise like Viva Pinata hasn’t seen a new release since the Xbox 360.
Aside from the LEGO titles, TT Games also developed Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, as well as other licensed games like Toy Story Racer, A Bug’s Life, and Muppet RaceMania. They are capable of developing games where all the characters aren’t made of colorful blocks.
TT Games may be able to help Viva Pinata make a comeback and help Xbox become a console for all players, no matter their age.
Developing a Viva Pinata title isn’t the only major selling point for a possible acquisition. Similar to NetherRealm, an acquisition would make the studios games exclusive to Xbox.
Having the LEGO franchise be exclusive to Xbox hardware would be a huge gain for the console. It would cater to the younger audience that has migrated to the Nintendo Switch and those who enjoy Sackboy and Astro Bot on PlayStation.
Not only would Xbox be the exclusive home of LEGO Star Wars, but they could also have TT Games create LEGO titles based on existing Xbox franchises.
Even though Halo games are aimed at an older audience, having a Halo racing game or a smaller Master Chief adventure in LEGO form would be a great way to introduce the most famous Xbox mascot.
Kids can play LEGO Halo at a younger age and begin to have an idea of the overall story and recognize some of the main characters
Once the kids are older and are able to play Halo: The Master Chief Collection or Halo Infinite, they will not be confused when they see Master Chief on the screen and won’t question what a Warthog is.
The acquisition of TT Games makes a lot of sense for Xbox. It would allow them to create games for a younger audience, while also boosting their existing catalog to include the LEGO franchise.