It’s no secret that Microsoft’s purchase of ZeniMax was bound to affect cross-platform releases, but there are now hints gamers might be missing out on some major releases. Under questioning from a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawyer seeking an injunction against the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal, Bethesda VP Pete Hines has revealed that Disney had a deal with ZeniMax to release MachineGames’ Indiana Jones title on multiple consoles. After Microsoft bought ZeniMax, however, the deal was amended to make it an Xbox console exclusive.
The FTC also believes Bethesda’s sci-fi epic Starfield was headed to the PlayStation 5 before the Microsoft buyout. Bloomberg previously reported that Bethesda axed the PlayStation version of Redfall, although that’s not as worrisome given the vampire shooter’s lousy reception.
Indiana Jones was made an exclusive due to the nature of the Disney license, Hines claims. Disney had a “ton of feedback” on the project that limited development time, and an Xbox exclusive would keep the game on track while providing a “degree of clarity,” the Bethesda executive says. Games like Starfield and Redfall are originals.
We’ve asked Bethesda for comment. In 2021, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said Microsoft’s control of ZeniMax would deliver “great exclusive games.” Some titles still in progress at the time, such as Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, were still headed to PlayStation due to contractual obligations.
The revelations won’t necessarily cement the FTC’s effort to block Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard. However, they don’t look good — they suggest that some players are losing out on high-profile games that were previously destined for their console of choice. Microsoft has promised to release Call of Duty on multiple platforms for years to come in a bid to secure regulatory approval, but that might not help if officials are still concerned about other exclusives.