It turns out Todd Howard and his team at Bethesda have been in cahoots with Microsoft way before the acquisition, and the latter had a hand in the renovation of the epic disaster that was Fallout 76. When the studio first faced a backlash from the community for the launch of a broken game with little to no content, Howard got in touch with Phil Spencer, asking him for advice on how to save Fallout 76.
When that game launched, the litany of issues we had…we let a lot of people down. There was very little we didn’t screw up, honestly. One of the people I called was Phil, and I said ‘Hey, you know there are so many things we’re dealing with…what advice do you have?Todd Howard
And he put me in touch with people at Xbox who were able to look at all the systems in our game and determine what was and wasn’t important, and compare that to the games that made it for the long haul. That kind of advice really really helped us. Now, seeing 76 being one of the most played games on Xbox…we’re just incredibly fortunate to be there.Todd Howard
Spencer connected the Bethesda and Xbox teams together and thanks to the latter’s significant experience with live games and MMOs, Fallout 76 was brought back from the brink. Multiple overhauls followed, including the launch of the Wastelands expansion that made the game more “lively”, and playable.