Just after getting home after a Halloween shift (I donned the dapper wear of the Ghostbuster), news broke that was non entirely unexpected: Microsoft is to form a partnership with former (and I would argue, still - but in a diminished manner) industry titans, Sega.
What form will this come in? Will Microsoft’s Xbox Series Consoles be the exclusive home to the likes of the blue blur? Well, as a fan of Xbox I hope not judging by Sonic The Hedgehog 2006’s standards certainly, although judging by Sonic Mania and its expansion, I will be both absolutely salivating and wondering how on Earth can PlayStation win this console generation war with the Bethesda acquisition coupled to this?
According to Sega themselves, the partnership is a strategic one to facilitate their use of Microsoft’s own Azure Cloud Platform in one of their own projects. This makes no mention of what the deal will bring to Microsoft’s benefit. After all, many companies (including this really small software company called ‘Sony’) do partner with Microsoft to help them develop.
However, while exclusivity might not be on the cards (at least within this deal), it must be noted that if Microsoft were to get nothing from this deal except letting a smaller rival use some of their key software, it would be the most one-sided deal in the history since Vince McMahon bought the assets of World Championship Wrestling for pretty much pennies on the Dollar back in March 2001. Your scribe smells that something is afoot.
This is pure speculation on my part, but your faithful scribe feels it might involve Xbox Game Pass Ultimate getting specific games from Sega’s vast catalogue. Although that might not turn out to happen given the recent Nintendo Switch launch of Nintendo 64 and Sega Mega Drive (Genesis for our readers of a more American disposition) entries.
The absolute killer app would - in my opinion, be Sonic the Hedgehog 3, especially with input from Christian Whitehead’s Headcannon Studios. It has been stuck in legal limbo for years, (rumoured to be due to which pop megastar was involved in crafting the soundtrack) one reason I refer to it and its successor Sonic & Knuckles as Sega’s answer to Goldeneye (an equally huge game which is prevented the re-release it deserves and so many crave due to the machinations of the law).
However, in 2022 we shall get both of these Sonic games in a form re-released for the first time in over a decade in the Sonic Origins collection. So with that in mind, the question then becomes: if it is certain Microsoft will gain something from this, whatever could it be??
Of course, it does not have to be our favourite blue hedgehog who dons Microsoft’s colours. Sega’s IP Library is quite vast, from Alex Kidd to Crazy Taxi, many could serve Microsoft quite well. Of course, it could be an entirely new Intellectual Property, history shows Sega are not entirely averted to creating one …
Please indulge us in speculation here at Robot Republic.
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