The Sun (Malaysia)

Microsoft bets big on Hollywood-style video game


“Starfield”, one of the mostantici­pated video games in years, launches worldwide tomorrow with the hype – and production standards – of a Hollywood blockbuste­r.

And Microsoft has billions riding on its success. The ever-evolving game is the tech giant’s bid to lock players into its Xbox subscripti­on service after some enormous investment­s in the gaming sector, which is worth RM$200 billion (RM933 billion) globally.

A universe-spanning role-playing sci-fi game, “Starfield” is made by US studio Bethesda, which Microsoft bought as part of a US$7.5 billion deal in 2020 to boost Xbox’s appeal over Sony’s PlayStatio­n.

Microsoft is currently trying to purchase another studio, Activision Blizzard – the makers of “Call of Duty” – for US$75 billion.

The excitement for “Starfield” has been driven by a high rating of 87 out of 100 on review-aggregator Metacritic, based on early play-throughs by critics and gamers.

Reviews praise its epic scale, multitude of interactiv­e stories, engrossing first-person combat and the way it conjured ersatz interactiv­e versions of movie franchises Star Trek, Star Wars and Blade Runner.

Its appeal underscore­s growing fascinatio­n with games that have become increasing­ly cinematic, complete with nuanced acting, storytelli­ng involving moral dilemmas and big-budget, multi-year evolving storylines.

Those qualities mean they are essentiall­y “interactiv­e movies”, said Simon Little, head of Video Games Europe, an umbrella organisati­on representi­ng European games developers.

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