Bethesda’s next step towards world domination was announced by Todd Howard at Quakecon last Friday. The star game director revealed that they will be adding a second Texas studio — this time in Dallas. The game studio formerly known as Escalation Studios has been bundled into the family as Bethesda Game Studios Dallas.
Here is the announcement from Todd Howard:
Escalation is a studio many people have never heard of. Yet, they’ve had their hands on multiple Bethesda games going back to 2011. Let’s look at where Escalation has been, where they’re going, and why it all matters.
A Brief History of Escalation Studios
Escalation Studios’ first interaction that led to the recent acquisition was their development of the iOS game Doom Resurrection. The game came out just one day (Kotaku, App Store) after ZeniMax — Bethesda’s parent company.
A few years down the line in 2011 they teamed back up with id for Rage. This marked the first time that Escalation worked on a Bethesda published title. It wasn’t until 2016 when they got the chance to work with id and Bethesda again.
What seemed to really get the ball rolling for Escalation Studios was their work on the 2016 reboot of Doom. Their main responsibility was the SnapMap mode (Rock Paper Shotgun) which allowed players to create their own Doom levels. This mode wasn’t just some tacked-on mode either. A considerable emphasis was put on SnapMap at E3 as one of the key modes in the new game. Escalation’s hard work shone through as soon as people got their hands on the game. SnapMap lived up to the promise of offering creation tools that were easy to use but also had an astonishing amount of depth.
Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR
This was the biggest project Escalation had ever worked on up to this point. Skyrim and Fallout 4 are big enough games on their own, but creating VR versions of those games is mind-boggling. Even as just a part of the team that worked on these games it was still an impressive addition to their résumé.
Fallout Shelter (Switch)
Escalation’s mobile game experience made their Fallout Shelter assignment a no-brainer (Variety). If they could handle two massive VR games and then still be willing to come back to work on a much smaller project, it was clear they were committed. Fallout Shelter isn’t anything special, but the Switch port was solid. This was their last title as Escalation Studios as they are now under the Bethesda umbrella of game studios.
What’s Coming Next for Bethesda Game Studios Dallas?
As if Bethesda Game Studios Dallas hadn’t already had an impressive list of recent games they’ve worked on here comes Fallout 76. This will be Bethesda’s first foray into an online Fallout game. It will be interesting to see what Bethesda Studios Dallas will be able to contribute considering their experience with Fallout 76’s engine. Despite their knowledge of engine, the online aspect of the game is something in which they don’t have an extensive background. It will be interesting to see what the Dallas studio gets tasked with on this game releasing in November.
The Elder Scrolls: Blades
The Elder Scrolls: Blades is more of the Dallas studio’s forte. Their experience with developing and working on mobile games runs deep. They have been creating mobile experiences since the inception of smartphone gaming about one decade ago. Bethesda are RPG gods and the Dallas Studio are mobile game magicians. Blades looked great at E3 and is starting to look even better on paper as we now know that the Dallas studio is in the mix.
Space, the final frontier for Bethesda Game Studios Dallas. Starfield will be the biggest game the Dallas studio has ever touched. Very little is currently known about this title other than it being a space RPG. Any doubts that this studio is well equipped to work on a game with the scope of Starfield are likely unfounded. The big wigs in Maryland trust them enough to contribute to their first new IP in over two decades. That’s all the proof I need that Bethesda Game Studios Dallas is ready to rock.
What does this mean for you?
Bethesda is already huge and continues to grow larger every year. Adding more studios means more bodies to work on games. All of this adds up to higher quality, faster turn times, and more frequent releases.
That’s just common sense though. With the Dallas studio’s mobile experience I could see either more or higher quality mobile games. Bethesda’s first time dipping their toes into the mobile arena with Fallout Shelter proved to be quite the lucrative business. While it doesn’t seem that Bethesda is planning on releasing a slew of mobile games, the Dallas studio’s mobile experience stands out. I hope that they’re just going to come in to help polish the game instead of essentially becoming Bethesda’s mobile studio. They have proven their worth in multiple Bethesda games to this point and seem to be an incredible asset to the team.
If you liked this, check out all of our coverage of Quakecon 2018. Let us know what you think about Bethesda’s acquisition of Escalation Studios and what it means for the future of both companies. Don’t forget to continue the conversation on social media.