Bethesda's Pete Hines has spoken about Xbox exclusivity in the years following Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax, saying that developing for fewer platforms has streamlined the process in some cases.
During today's trial between Microsoft/Activision and the Federal Trade Commission, Hines was asked about developing games like Redfall and Starfield as Xbox console exclusives. Hines said developers can hold more rounds of quality assurance testing when a game is on fewer platforms, which he called less of a risk than developing for many platforms. Hines spoke on Starfield, saying it wouldn't hit its September date if it was a multiplatform title.
“We would not be putting [Starfield] out in nine weeks if we were supporting an entire additional platform, in my opinion,” Hines said.
That being said, Hines also implied that he was blindsided by Xbox's commitments to bring Activision games like Call of Duty to PlayStation and other platforms, while Bethesda games remained strictly Xbox exclusive. Hines said the messaging surrounding Call of Duty confused him, since it was "the opposite of what we were just asked — told — to do with our other titles".
Hines said no one at Xbox gave Bethesda a heads up about the Call of Duty decision, and that he thought Phil Spencer would explain in an interview why the multiplatform approach is acceptable for Activision games like Call of Duty, but not Bethesda games like Starfield of The Elder Scrolls VI.
Exclusivity has been a big topic at today's trial, as we also learned that MachineGames' upcoming Indiana Jones title is also set to be exclusive to Xbox and PC. We also know that Arkane's Harvey Smith said the studio canceled the PlayStation 5 version of Redfall following the Xbox acquisition. Interestingly, Xbox's Matt Booty has said a decision hasn't been made on a PlayStation version of The Outer Worlds 2.
To follow everything from the ongoing legal battle, check out our article on how to watch the trial and our coverage so far.
Additional reporting by Rebekah Valentine.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over seven years of experience in the gaming industry with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.