Xbox Game Studios
Xbox Game Studios is a division of Microsoft established in March 2000, spun out from an internal games group, for the development and publishing of video games for Microsoft Windows. It later expanded to produce games for Xbox platforms and other Microsoft systems. It was originally known as Microsoft Games, Microsoft Game Studios, and Microsoft Studios.
1st Logo (1995-1999)
Logo: On a black background, we see a white laser carve the outline of the then-current Microsoft logo in white. Once the spark reaches the bottom of the "t," the outline suddenly becomes the full Microsoft text in white, then it shines and disappears with a bright flash.
Technique: Computer animation.
Music/Sounds: A loud, phaser-like noise when the laser carves the "Microsoft" outline, followed by two pings, then a dreamy synth note when the Microsoft logo shines and disappears.
Availability: Pretty common. Should be on Windows 95 CDs and on other game CDs from the era, such as some Magic School Bus games and Nickelodeon's 3D Movie Maker. It was seen on Monster Truck Madness, Hellbender, and Deadly Tide.
2nd Logo (1997-2002)
Logo: On a space background, there is the moon in the up-right corner, and the sun in the up-left corner, with white clouds in the bottom-left corner. Then the camera pans to an unknown white planet (which is Earth), where the clouds come from. The camera pans to the planet, until the screen turns completely white from the clouds, then Microsoft's 1987-2012 "Pac-Man" logo fades in, and zooms to us, then stops.
Variant: A still version also exists.
Technique: 3D animation of the planets, and the 2D logo.
Music/Sounds: A dreamy, sci-fi space-orchestra tune which then grows more dramatic and becomes a fanfare.
Availability: Common. Seen on games from the late 90s like the first two Age Of Empires games, Monster Truck Madness 2, and Midtown Madness 1, and 2. The color-reverted still version appeared on MechCommander.
3rd Logo (2001-2005?)
The video of this logo may be too loud or severely distorted.
Logo: On a black background, we see a thick white blur, which forms into the Microsoft logo of the time. The logo fades out, and the Action, Combat, & Simulations (ACeS) logo fades in, with the music carrying over.
Technique: Simple 2D animation.
Music/Sounds: A dramatic string theme with a loud phaser/"switching-on" sound effect as the Microsoft logo blurs in, a bang when it's fully formed, and a loud crashing sound merged with a dramatic note as the ACeS logo appears.
Availability: Rare. Only seen on games produced at the (now defunct) ACeS studio. Seen on Microsoft Train Simulator for the PC, and Bloodwake for Xbox, among others.
Microsoft Game Studios
1st Logo (2002-2008)
Logo: On a smoky white background, a silver liquid orb rushes in, and black liquid crust starts to cover it. Suddenly they transform into a pack of water bubbles and black drops mixed together. They move across the screen, leaving the long trace. Then the black drops form the words "game studios", and silver bubbles blast "Microsoft" in it's then corporate font above, also forming the x-shaped figure below. The logo zooms in a bit, then transforms into bubbles again, and leaves, and then cover the screen.
- On portable games, such as MechAssault for DS, the logo has print view.
- On Halo 2, the background was gradient, light blue as in the Bungie logo.
Technique: 3D CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: A mix of various whooshing sounds with aerated water sound.
Availability: Common. It can be seen in Rise of Nations, Zoo Tycoon 1&2, Dungeon Siege 2, and other games for PC. It can also be seen on games for Xbox like Halo and Project Gotham Racing 2.
2nd Logo (2005-2011)
Logo: On a bright leaf-green, glowing background, we see many vague white particles. The camera zooms in to the 1987-2012 "Microsoft" logo being formed from these particles. A light streak appears and bumps into the half-completed word, making the big soft explosion. Then the words "game studios" appear below. Another two streaks appear, creating the x-shaped figure. The logo fades.
Variant: On Kinect Adventures, the logo looks like an embroidery on white fabric.
Technique: CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: A few blob-like sounds ending with a whoosh.
- On Halo 3, after the logo completes, the first few notes of the Halo choir begin. This continues into the Bungie logo.
- On Kinect Adventures, it's silent.
Availability: Common. Appears on Project Gotham Racing 3 and 4, the Viva Piñata series, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Halo 3, and Kinect Adventures, all for Xbox 360. Can be also seen on several PC games like Gears of War or Age of Empires: Asian Dynasties.
Logo: On a grainy white background, a black load of paint makes its way from the down left corner and to the center, where "Microsoft" (in a different typeface than before, called "Segoe UI") fades with "Studios" below. The paint moves down to the words, swirls and stops as a prolonged spot.
- On Kinect Sports Season 2, the logo clears away when balls bearing the Rare / Bigpark logos begin to fall.
- The background can be black and the logo is then colored in milky silver.
- On the Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions of Minecraft, the logo is in one line and is pixellated. This version is still.
- On Kinect Sports Rivals, at the end, orange swoosh bars sweep the logo away and transitions to the menu.
- On Ori and the Blind Forest, the logo is shiny blue on a background with blurred blue circles, and it fades out into the Moon Studios logo, which animates on the same background.
- On all Forza games since Forza Motorsport 6, the text from this logo without the line appears in the Turn 10 logo.
- On Minecraft Mini Series: Challenge of the Spooky Isles, the logo is still and in-credit and is seen on the bottom with the Mojang logo on the top, thus being the first appearance of Microsoft Studios on animated television.
Technique: CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: A mellow bubbling soundtrack. On Minecraft Mini Series: Challenge of the Spooky Isles, it's the closing theme of the show.
- The Minecraft variant is silent.
- On all Forza games since Forza Motorsport 4 until Forza Horizon 2, a car vrooming sound is heard.
- The Blu-ray releases of Halo: Nightfall and Halo: The Fall of Reach have the logo in a low tone, along with the 343 Industries logo.
Availability: Common. Appears on newer Xbox 360 games, including Kinect series such as Sports Season Two, Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure, Disneyland Adventures, and Star Wars. Also appears on several Xbox Live Arcade titles, such as Bloodforge and Fable Heroes, and Xbox One games like Zoo Tycoon (2013), Forza Horizon 2, Project Spark, and Rare Replay, among other games. This plasters the 2nd logo on HD releases of Age of Empires II. It also appears on Dust: An Elysian Tail for PC. This is even seen on non-game releases, such as the home media releases of Halo 4: Forward onto Dawn and Halo: The Fall of Reach.
Xbox Game Studios