There’s been little to go one since the surprise announcement of a Phantom Dust reboot at Microsoft’s E3 press conference last year. The rebirth of the original Xbox cult classic has been under development at an outsourced independent studio, with Microsoft keeping a close eye on one of its upcoming exclusives. But it seems like they weren’t pleased with what they saw, which has resulted in the closure of Darkside Games.
Microsoft has pulled development duty of the game from the studio, which in turn has forced the fifty strong workforce to close their doors for good. Microsoft stresses that they’re still going to work on the game, but instead look for a studio better sutited to the takes. Whether or not any of the current work will be used is unknown though. Chances are that this reboot will be completely rebooted when it finds a new home. A Microsoft spokesperson had this to say about Darkside Games.
“Microsoft partnered with Darkside Game Studios in the development of ‘Phantom Dust,’ but our working relationship has now ended. We have great respect for their studio and their work in the industry. While we do not have anything new to share on ‘Phantom Dust‘ at this time, we can confirm that development of the title continues.”
Darkside Games is a relatively small studio, and Phantom Dust was to be their first fully developed title. They’ve previously done contract work on games like Borderlands and Sunset Overdrive, but the removal of Phantom Dust seems to have been the final nail in the coffin. Around 50 people have lost their jobs as a result, with the studio ceasing to exist anymore. According to an anonymous former employee, the game was looking really great – only to be shut down by an executive who had probably not seen the title in months.
“The executives who saw it were impressed and as late as this morning gave our team every indication that the project was on solid ground. Yet we got the phone call today that someone up on high who in all likelihood wasn’t even aware of the game in detail shut it down.”
It’s heartbreaking for Darkside Games, but not entirely surprising considering Microsoft hasn’t been open to showing the game publically just year. With nearly a year of nothing to really show, it seems that the game wasn’t headed in the right direction – no matter how well Darkside believed it was going. The already niche card collection title is now sitting in limbo, as Microsoft figures out what to do next.
Last Updated: February 18, 2015