Phantom Dust caused a stir when a trailer for it was shown during the 2014 E3 Xbox media briefing. It was completely absent from this year’s E3, however. Marketing guy Aaron Greenberg revealed why, during a podcast interview released Sunday, and it doesn’t bode well for the Xbox One exclusive.
“It’s been a passion project for Phil and a lot of folks on the team,” Greenberg told Gamertag Radio. “We’re currently exploring what we are going to do longer term with Phantom Dust. The project is not cancelled, but we don’t have an active developer on it right now.”
“It’s a project, that like many things, will take a little more time but at this point we are not giving any more updates on it.”
Microsoft originally contracted Darkside Studios to create a reboot of Phantom Dust in early 2014. According to interviews with developers of the studio with Kotaku, the game started out as a multiplayer-only title with a budget of around $5 million. Microsoft later requested a single-player campaign and other changes be made to the action-RPG title, but wouldn’t agree to any budget increase requests.
This impasse created friction between the studio and Microsoft. A two-day meeting to negotiate a new budget in February of 2015 led nowhere, and the Xbox One publisher elected to move on after spending around $2 million on the project.
This was a blow to Darkside Studios, which is now just a shadow of its former self. Around 50 developers and artists were laid off. The studio now only contributes to a few smaller projects.
Meanwhile, fans of the original Xbox cult hit are left wondering about the future of the game and if the Xbox One reboot will ever happen. Greenberg’s comments leave open the possibility that Phantom Dust could return, but it sounds very slim. If new work has not started on the title then it is around at least two years away from release.
Microsoft and the Xbox team appear to have turned their attention towards other projects. ReCore, Gears of War, and Sea of Thieves were among the new exclusive titles announced at E3 last week. Meanwhile Scalebound, Crackdown, and Quantum Break are all set to be shown during the Gamescom convention in August along with some other new announcements.
More new exclusive Xbox One games will eventually be greenlit at Microsoft. The question is whether there will be someone to champion for Phantom Dust and the money to make it.
[Images via Phantom Dust E3 2014 Trailer, Kotaku]