Head of Xbox Phil Spencer in an interview with Kotaku discussed giving first-party developers more time to help improve the quality of games.
2019 is the first year in several years that has not had a new Forza game, and by the time Halo: Infinite launches it will be a five year gap from the last mainline Halo game.
"One of the nice things I loved about [the E3 2019 Xbox briefing]—at least they would be more in my head than they would be in public—was the things that we didn’t show," said Spencer. "I think about of the 14 first-party games, 12 are shipping in the next year. We were really able to focus on what’s coming now, which I think is awesome. And then I think about the studios: where was Initiative? Where was [Forza Motorsport studio] Turn 10? Where was Playground’s second team?
"It was nice, and this hasn’t always been the case with our first-party line-up, where we’ve had the ability to not show everything all the time. In the case of Forza, I want the team, just like we did 343 [Industries]. We gave them time—we did, what, four Halos in four years?—giving them an opportunity to really think and have a creative impact when they launch. Turn 10 is similar. I want to give them time to think through their plans.
"I love what they do with Motorsport, but you’ve got to be able to listen to your studios when they need time and they want to focus on more things. And as you have more content, you’re able to do that."
Spencer feels that the quality of first-party games is important and the number of games and studios put a lot of pressure on the team to maintain a higher standard.
"I think quality of first party is very important, so I’m totally with you there," he added. "We did reach a time in our first party where the number of games and studios that we actually had and were investing in put a lot of pressure on everything that we were doing. And it became more difficult to manage a portfolio when you kind of needed everything at any point to hit the date that it had picked three years ahead of time at the very high level of quality.
"The support that we’re getting now and we’ve had over the last couple of years has allowed us to invest in our first party, adding eight new studios and really create room for us to focus on quality. I feel good about what Rod [Fergusson]’s done [at Gears studio The Coalition], what Bonnie [Ross] has done [at Halo studio 343 Industries], what Alan [Hartman] has done with Turn 10, and what Helen [Chiang]’s been doing with Minecraft."