So far this year, the Xbox One has been coming up short when it comes to console exclusives, with a few titles even being cancelled. Polygon recently released some game footage of one of the Xbox’s upcoming exclusives, Phantom Dust, an action strategy game released in 2004 for the original Xbox. While not technically a new game, some Xbox owners were excited to see a remastered version of this cult hit. However, there’s some good and bad news. The good news is the game (so far) hasn’t been canceled. The bad news is the game hasn’t really been remastered so much as its just being re-released as-is, dated graphics and all.
Adam Isgreen, Microsoft Studios Publishing creative director, recently went on NeoGAF to explain that, due to some miscommunications with the interviewer, the game ended up being mistaken as a remastered version instead of re-release of the original game, with a few slight improvements.
The main reason for that has to do with the fact that the development team, Code Mystics, didn’t have access to the original game’s final source code. Despite this obvious disadvantage, the developers were still able to make the screen display 16×9, added Xbox LIVE support, and were able to get the framerate to a stable 30 FPS, all while being unable to modify the core of the game. Obviously, 60 FPS would be preferable, but the original source code is hard-coded to expect no more than 30 FPS.
While the use of original assets from 2004 may turn some gamers off, the graphics, for the most part, hold up surprisingly well–at least when compared to other games from that generation. Isgreen also wanted to stress that graphics aren’t all that important, saying, “this is a player’s game, not a looker’s game.” In terms of the gameplay, Isgreen said, “Design-wise and mechanically, you will not find another game that plays like it, even today.”
Unfortunately, Phantom Dust still doesn’t have an official date/price set. Expect this Xbox One exclusive eventually.