It’s no secret Voodoo Vince is Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s favorite game that he’s worked on. So, it should come as no surprise that the original Xbox game was announced for the Xbox One and Windows 10 as an HD remaster Wednesday.
The original creator of Voodoo Vince, Beep Games’ Clayton Kauzlaric, announced the HD remaster in an Xbox Wire post that is as much a walk down memory lane as it is a press release. Voodoo Vince: Remastered will be released in early 2017 for Xbox One and Windows 10.
The remastered version of Voodoo Vince will make the jump from a standard definition resolution to 1080p widescreen and run at 60 frames per second (fps). The gameplay and animations will remain untouched, but it is receiving new textures and effects along with achievements and support for controller vibrations. Oddly, that was a feature the original team never got around to implementing.
The game was originally released in 2003 for Microsoft’s first foray into consoles with the Xbox. It was decently received at the time and praised for its unique twist. Players take control of a Vince, a voodoo doll, through some standard 3D platformer fare such as jumping, collecting items, and puzzle solving.
The hook comes in with Vince’s special ability to destroy enemies. He has a voodoo power meter that players can fill by collecting beads. When the power meter is full, he does what a voodoo doll should do and inflicts pain on himself to damage his enemies. There are a number of different voodoo powers that Vince can utilize to varying slapstick effect.
The character and charm of Voodoo Vince, set in New Orleans, was widely praised. However, issues with the standard platforming elements beyond the voodoo abilities did not help. It ended up with a 73 aggregate review score on Metacritic, but the game quickly became a cult hit for the original Xbox with fans.
Kauzlaric noted that it was never eligible to come forward as a backwardcompatible title on the Xbox 360 due to some “convoluted custom code.” Microsoft is currently not putting titles for its original console in as part of the current Xbox One backward compatibility program either. Fans never forgot though and wrote to Kauzaric through emails and social media about remastering the game. He had moved on to work as a Creative Director in Microsoft’s first party publishing arm, but never forgot about Voodoo Vince.
“A couple years ago I started thinking about updating and re-launching Voodoo Vince myself,” Kauzlaric said. “My colleagues at Microsoft were really supportive of the idea. We all agreed that the ID@Xbox program is the perfect venue for the game. A small team and I have been quietly working on Voodoo Vince: Remastered for a few months now.”
Xbox Head Phil Spencer talked about Voodoo Vince and why it was his favorite game that he worked on while Microsoft in a video posted to YouTube not long after he took over as boss of the gaming division.
“Games are experiences that you have with people — that social experience of we did that together… the memories that are built,” Spencer said. “The game is called Voodoo Vince. It’s the first game my daughters and I finished together, where my daughters really felt like they were part of us solving the puzzles in the game.
“And you know you think about all that I’ve worked on: I’ve worked on Halos, I’ve worked on Gears, I’ve worked on Forzas, games that are just amazing, fantastic games. But to me it’s really about the memories that are created and the fun that you had when you play games. And I’ll always remember Voodoo Vince and finishing it with my daughters.”
[Featured Image by Beep Games / Microsoft]