Microsoft have talked up their PC gaming efforts in recent months and ive made my personal thoughts on the subject clear; that if Microsoft want to support PC gaming they should do so with products made for that platform and not port Xbox 360/One titles over which will (likely) be more successful and help sell consoles which is more important than releasing games on Steam.
As such, Microsoft recently released Age of Empires II HD and released an expansion for it that was original unofficial, and Age of Mythology Extended Edition is due out on Steam in May 2014 as well from Skybox Labs, this is the sort of support I think Microsoft should be giving PC, titles that are just better suited to the platform and offer something that can’t be done as well as on Xbox consoles (even though Halo Wars was pretty good).
On to the latest information and from Microsoft Studios job listings a new post came up for a Software Development Engineer Lead for a “new AAA title within an established and well-loved strategy game franchise”. With the description about reporting directing to the Head of Studio I wonder if the listing has anything to do with the unannounced studios Microsoft have or perhaps just an internal team (like that of Killer Instinct) that is working with an external developer but it is pretty clear about it being a role within a studio.
Its speculation on my part that its PC related but I think that with the AoEII and AoM ports its clear Microsoft is looking at those franchises and genres again so that’s where I’m basing my thoughts. I would personally like to see a new Zoo Tycoon in the vein of the original (less so the second which I didn’t like) and whilst the recent Xbox 360/One version was very good it wasn’t as in-depth as I would like from the series.
The listing doesn’t give much information of how far into development the title is but says the candidate should be able to “recommend appropriate middleware and tools to accomplish our goals” so perhaps its just the early stages. E3 is just over a month away though so perhaps even if we don’t hear more about this title specifically there will be other announcements to show their renewed interest in strategy titles and PC gaming?