Microsoft is putting Bethesda into a Vault — temporarily, anyway. The Xbox owner is creating a subsidiary company (with a sly name) to house its newest acquisition.
The acquisition was first announced back in September. Microsoft wishes to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company behind Bethesda Game Studios, iD Software, Arkane Studios, and several other major game studios. At a reported $7.5 billion, it’s by far one of the most expensive deals in gaming.
The whole acquisition is still in progress. The new name appears in a document detailing Microsoft’s plan to take over ZeniMax — a plan which still needs to be approved by the European Commission.
There’s no proof, of course, that the name is a nod to the Fallout series, which is one of ZeniMax’s most popular titles, but there’s also no proof that it’s not, and I choose to believe that someone at Microsoft has a sense of humor. After all, if you have even a basic understanding of the Fallout game lore, then you know that anything housed in a Vault is usually in for a tough time.
From what the plan tells us, however, Vault (the Microsoft one, I mean) is a temporary solution. The document says Vault “will be merged with and into ZeniMax,” meaning ZeniMax won’t suddenly become Vault once the deal goes through.
The main concern for gamers is still whether future ZeniMax games (like, say, the next Elder Scrolls title) will be exclusive to the Microsoft-owned Xbox consoles. It’s possible that “Vault” as a subsidiary could give ZeniMax’s developers some separation from the rest of Microsoft’s game studios, which might avoid that.
We likely won’t know for sure until the first ZeniMax games are published after the merger goes through. The Commission will decide whether to clear the acquisition by March 5.