Gamers tired of playing sequel after sequel may soon be able to find something new and fresh on the Xbox One, if Phil Spencer’s latest comments are any indication.
The head of Xbox said in an interview last week that Microsoft is working on new first-party titles at both internal and external studios. Spencer pointed out that the upcoming Sunset Overdrive is a good example of a game that doesn’t fit in with the likes of Halo or Gears of War but still offers an exciting experience.
His statement below about looking for newness isn’t exactly shocking, as both Microsoft and Sony, heck, even Nintendo, have already taken steps to establish new IP for their current consoles. But in an industry where there’s a new Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty every year, it’s reassuring to hear an executive speak so plainly about wanting to create new franchises.
“I think new stories, new characters give us a new canvas to try new things. [Sunset Overdrive is] a great example of that. It’s a game that isn’t like anything else in our portfolio, and I think that’s great. I want to continue to invest in things that push the boundaries. I don’t need another military space marine game. I don’t probably need another racing game. In terms of trying things that are new and have a unique reason to be in our portfolio, it’s gotta be a commitment from us as a first-party, absolutely.”
The argument could also be made that Microsoft, more than Sony, desperately needs some more exclusive titles like Sunset Overdrive to help them close the gap in the war with PlayStation 4. Microsoft has previously secured some exclusives like Titanfall and the next Tomb Raider by opening its wallet, along with the acquisition of Minecraft creator Mojnag, but if the company is interested in building another passionate fan base like Halo still enjoys, the best strategy may indeed be to build new franchises from the ground up.
Also of note from the interview with IGN is that Spencer will be flying in to Rare’s studio next month to see a pitch for a new game. Spencer specifically said that he’d like to see the studio get back to its roots with “something new that feels like a Rare game.” To which most gamers responded, “It’s about time.”
Microsoft’s much-discussed purchase of the British developer in 2002 was seen as a huge coup, but it became obvious a while ago that the Rare of today is only a shell of what the company used to be when it was developing for Nintendo platforms. A new Rare franchise that “feels like a Rare game” could send old fans of Perfect Dark and Conker scrambling to get an Xbox One.
Rare was previously tapped to handle Microsoft’s Kinect Sports titles, but now that the Kinect is all but dead in the water, it will be interesting to see where the developer goes from here and how big of a role they have to play in creating these new franchises that Microsoft so clearly needs.
Follow Jason Gallagher on Twitter @MuckrakerJG.