How A Small Studio's Chance At The Big Time Died At Microsoft's Doorstep

Though you may never have heard of Darkside Games, you’ve probably heard of the games they’ve helped develop—the Florida-based studio has contributed toGears of War: Judgment, Spec Ops: The Line,Sunset Overdrive, and various Borderlandsgames, handling all sorts of art, DLC, and other features. Darkside, like many other small studios, was firmly rooted in the unglamorous world of outsourcing, helping make other companies’ games rather than creating their own. When Phantom Dustcame along, Darkside employees say they were ecstatic—finally, they could prove that they were capable of making their own game, too. Finally, they’d reached the next level.

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1747d ago Replies(2)
marlinfan101747d ago (Edited 1747d ago )

Pretty interesting read. I'd like to hear phil spencers/microsofts side of the story. The devs chose to stay anonymous so who really knows what role they played at darkside. Either way the whole e3 thing is pretty shady on MS part along with a few other things. I think it probably came down to Microsoft not liking the product shown and throwing the towel in. If they didn't like the product, why throw more money at it. Going off the leaked footage, the game didn't look that great IMO but it was a really early build.

We also don't know what darkside promised either. For all we know they promised more than they could deliver which could also lead to dropping them all together.

gangsta_red1747d ago

Microsoft really screwed these guys over big time if true.

It would be interesting to hear an insider at MS give their side of the story. I wonder if 5 million was even enough for a multiplayer only game. That just seems very low for a game of that scope to be only 5 million. When budgeting for cost of development you should at least tack on an extra few $$$ for some wiggle room just in case something like this happens. Same applies when scheduling deliveries of products, you always tack on some extra days.

"On top of that, the old Xbox action game was developed by a Japanese team, led by now-independent designer Yukio Futatsugi. Why would Microsoft task this small studio in Florida with rebooting it? It was a cult classic, sure, but how many people would really care?"

This is the part that baffles me and I commented something similar a long time ago. Why not have Yukio Futatsugi do the game and have a studio in Japan actually make it? Didn't MS say that Yukio Futatsugi was going to be apart of this project anyway?

Hmmmm...I am curious if this project is even going to actually happen.

christocolus1747d ago (Edited 1747d ago )

"It would be interesting to hear an insider at MS give their side of the story."

Was about to say the same thing. $5M to reboot an entire game(campaign inclusive) sounds absurd. Would definitely love to hear MS side of the story. Its really sad though cant wait to get the full gist. I hope those affected find jobs soon.

"This is the part that baffles me and I commented something similar a long time ago. Why not have Yukio Futatsugi do the game and have a studio in Japan actually make it?"

I agree and a user on the xbox one sub reddit actually stated something similar .Yukio Futatsugi(Ground Inc) was the original creator of the game and i remember an interview where he stated his interest in a Phantum Dust reboot. i'm guessing MS shifted the games development back to the original guy or maybe a new studio with Futatsugi now overseeing development. i truly hope this game doesn't end up in oblivion.

Golden_Mud1747d ago

When I thought Phil Spencer and the new CEO would change Microsoft , I can't imagine how bad they were until now , why the hell let a studio go under when you obviously have the money to chill out , GTA : EFLC was 50 million dollars worth and it wasn't going into Microsoft's pocket , they intended to sell consoles , you know what sells more units ? exclusives , and making a studio go under instead of giving them a couple of millions of dollars destroys that idea (if they just gave them 3 more million of dollars would have at least made it better), I ,in all honesty , don't support all corporations cause all of them are greedy on their own well , and the gaming industry is gonna be having a hit again , just like in the 70s , and I really hope it does so corporations can realize that things don't work as they want it to work , things should work as what the loyal employees and the consumers want , not the arrogant leaders not the ignorant "idols" of the industry.

ThinkThink1747d ago

Exactly, it doesn't make sense which is why there is probably more to the story than is being told here. We could speculate all day but we have no idea what the real reason behind these decisions really was.

Neo_Zeed1747d ago

Microsoft wants to win but isn't willing to put out money on exclusives. The sad part is... this is pocket change to MS.

vega2751747d ago

So what your saying is MS should keep throwing money at them even though they didnt like what they saw because its pocket change to them.........yeah that works. /s

Skate-AK1747d ago

The Devs say from what they were told the executives like the game. It fell apart when their major connect left Microsoft.

Neo_Zeed1747d ago (Edited 1747d ago )

Yes. If they really want to win... open that wallet. Microsoft has money to burn. Don't sit on the money... out spend Sony. They won't though which is one of the problems with MS.

If they aren't serious... they should leave the console war.

vega2751746d ago

"Microsoft has money to burn. Don't sit on the money... out spend Sony"

And this statement sir is why you will never run a business. out spending your competition doesnt guarantee you a win. In-fact it may help you to the poor house quicker. If MS wants to win they need to be smarter and offer better service and games. You show why your console is a must have and why its better than the competition. Throwing money cause you got it doesnt do that.

Now as for MS spending money. They do. They just chose not to dump more money into a studio they felt wasnt a right fit for their game. This isnt charity, this is business. Sony wouldn't do it nor would any other company throw money at a studio just cause its pocket change. Take a business class dude or use common sense

jb2271746d ago

Especially when you consider their no doubt massive marketing budget, none of which actually works. How much do you think MS paid to have a surface tablet in basically every single show on tv & to premiere game trailers in the massive Walking Dead season finale? At the end of the day, I personally would rather have my creative companies spend their money on actual creative endeavors instead of pissing it away trying to market to people that don't really care either way. I'm sure this Phantom Dust reboot would've been funded 10 times over if they'd just cut back some of the marketing that has been proven to not really work for the past half decade. MS are the purveyors of tenacity when it comes to trying to get people to buy their hardware, but they typically end up pretty silent when it comes to providing actual software & exclusive experiences to justify these purchases, and in the best case scenarios they buy timed exclusivity for software that'll be available on all platforms, aside from the scant few original ip's they release. Phantom Dust might not have been a huge name, but MS need more original ip experiences, that early "privilege" to play Rise of the Tomb Raider early just killed Phantom Dust and potentially a handful of other quality true exclusive titles. Business as usual for MS, and yet all they had to do was get rid of one exec in favor of another that would be a more believable lapdog to win gamer trust back. Ken Lobb's lies & exaggerations alone should be enough for most smart consumers to question the intent of the whole company, regardless of how cool one guy can come off on twitter.

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