Take-Two caused some confusion in recent days, after executives spoke about The Outer Worlds during an earnings call, praising the game for surpassing three million sales and expressing excitement at being involved with the IP moving forward. This of course made it sound like Microsoft did not get the publishing rights for The Outer Worlds after acquiring Obsidian, forcing some clarification.
During Take-Two's latest earnings call, President, Karl Slatoff, was quoted as saying that “we will be participating” in the future of The Outer Worlds, indicating that Take-Two still has some ownership over the series, whether it be IP rights or publishing rights. The odd thing here is that Microsoft acquired Obsidian back in 2018 just ahead of The Outer Worlds' launch – a sale that should have included the rights to The Outer Worlds moving forward.
Private Division, the Take-Two subsidiary that published The Outer Worlds, clarified the situation in a statement sent to Gamasutra:
“Private Division is still supporting and marketing The Outer Worlds, including the upcoming release of Murder on Eridanos DLC on Nintendo Switch. Moving forward, Obsidian and Microsoft will be publishing future iterations in the franchise, and we're absolutely thrilled to see where they take it.”
That quote settles the mystery – Microsoft does indeed hold the rights for The Outer Worlds, so a sequel would not involve a cross-industry publishing deal.
KitGuru Says: Microsoft not holding rights to The Outer Worlds would have greatly diminished the chance of a sequel, so this clarification was certainly needed.