Microsoft Talking About Rebooting Phantom Dust

An Xbox 1 classic could come back for Microsoft's Xbox One.

News by Mike Williams, .

The deity that presides over the game industry has decided to enkindle within me the hope that one of my gaming wishes will come true. The last wish that was answered involved the return of Killer Instinct. Double Helix didn't have the best pedigree, so this wish could've turned out bad, but the studio stuck the landing. Score one for me.

So once again, Microsoft is looking to revisit one of my old favorites: the 2004 Xbox title Phantom Dust. In a look at what games are coming to the Xbox One in the future, Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer told Kotaku that Phantom Dust is being talked about for a possible reboot. It's not a sure thing yet, but at least the idea is being batted around. The original game was directed by Yukio Futatsugi, who recently directed the Xbox One-exclusive Crimson Dragon.

"Futatsugi just finished Crimson Dragon, and I'm proud of what he was able to do. We're talking to him about what we might want to do next with him. There's some interest out there in some older [intellectual property]," Spencer told Kotaku.

"Phantom Dust has come up around whether we would want to reboot that franchise. It's a discussion right now; there's nothing's signed. But we're talking. It does seem like there's a lot of interest around that. And we have a good long relationship with him and I think that would be good."

If you've never played Phantom Dust, it's difficult to explain because there's not much out there like it. There's no easy simile available to describe Phantom Dust. It sits somewhere in between a deck-building card game and a third-person action game. Players plan out decks of attack, defense and support abilities, collected through gameplay, player trade, or purchased using points gained from winning online battles.

While on the playing field, you can grab randomly spawning orbs in a few different colors: red for attacks, blue for defense, and white for increasing your Aura. Each ability uses a certain amount of Aura and the abilities you get from grabbing an orb are chosen randomly from your deck depending on the color of the orb. Any abilities you have are mapped to your face buttons and are generally single-use. Phantom Dust's strategy comes not only from being able to move around the highly-destructible environment - did I mention that you can literally level the playing field? - but also building the right deck, making the right decision between grabbing an Aura or ability orb, and a bit of luck.

The best part of Phantom Dust is the sense of pacing. It's faster than a card-battle game because you actually have to move around the environment and you have a chance to dodge attacks if you're quick enough. Cover is an important element; you have to be cognizant of your position in addition to whatever special abilities are available in your current 'hand'. Standing on a bridge at the wrong moment can see the structure brought down around you just when you were ready to attack. But Phantom Dust doesn't move as fast as a first-person shooter either" you have more time to decide what to do and the players move at a speed that could comfortably be called a 'saunter'.

Microsoft has sat on the franchise for years, but if there's one game that fits well in an industry that's used to free-to-play online games like Hearthstone, League of Legends, and Warframe, it's Phantom Dust. Free-to-play isn't great for everything, but it would fit well with a new Phantom Dust. Allowing players to unlock a wide variety of abilities through gameplay or microtransaction purchase, the addition of player avatar customization, brand-new destructible levels, and constant updates since the game wouldn't be a single, boxed product; I can imagine a new Phantom Dust pretty easily.

So let's make this happen Microsoft. Do it for me. Do it for that sweet, free-to-play money. And please don't screw it up.

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Comments 9

  • Avatar for Ohoni #1 Ohoni 4 years ago
    Oh hells yes. A recent poll question asked "what Xbox franchise would you like to see updated," and Phantom Dust was it. It was a bit clunky as a game, the story was classic Japanese "wha?" but they did so much right that it made up for any minor shortcomings. The "action card battle" gameplay was spectacular, and the relatively few maps all had such personality to them, like the sideways city block (before Bleach did it), and even just the "ideal" Japanese neighborhood contrasted against the rest of the post-apocalypse.

    My one worry is that in today's market, they'll ruin it by making it pay-to-win, with "cards" being purchased in blind packs using cash, rather than awarded reasonably through ingame activities.
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  • Avatar for gigantor21 #2 gigantor21 4 years ago
    So that means an Xbox 1 game will be rebooted...for the Xbox One...?

    *head explodes*
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  • Avatar for #3 4 years ago
    I'm pretty sure every single person who played Phantom Dust is either in this thread or wrote the article.
    I bought it, but I remember the news of how bad it sold. Is one game no one noticed enough to be referred to as a franchise?

    I know Microsoft are hard up for first party titles outside of Halo, Forza and Fable (and who's kidding who, Fable's beating a dead horse at this point)....but wow. Phantom Dust was really reaching down to the bottom of the barrel, looking for game titles to work on.
    It's one of those games you remember more fondly than how it actually plays. It hasn't aged well and, outside of being quirky, was average at best. I'd be shocked if Microsoft went with this game instead of something new.Edited November 2013 by
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  • Avatar for alexb #4 alexb 4 years ago
    @Ohoni I think you've nailed it. This genre is astonishingly easy to abuse with microtransactions, which probably explains their interest in reviving a financially disastrous cult classic. If they bring Phantom Dust back, it's going to end up being like Pet Sematary.
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  • Avatar for GaijinD #5 GaijinD 4 years ago
    Honestly, I'd settle for an XBLA re-release just so I could play it online again. The split-screen is terrible and I'm not liking my chances of setting up a Phantom Dust LAN party.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #6 Ohoni 4 years ago
    @Danger, I agree that it's not a great game by today's standards, but it was great at the time, and with modern retooling, to bring it up to modern standards, I think it has a lot of elements that people would really enjoy. It doesn't even have to be Phantom Dust, I'd just like to see someone make something similar, an action game with a card-battle mechanic.
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  • Avatar for marcos.14 #7 marcos.14 4 years ago
    Okay I don't want to take any type of credit for this but I've been plastering a phantom dust revival agena on every forum, tweeting every person who has mention phantom dust to tweet phil - doing this with neogaf and xbox one reddit and it started sometype of flood where phil spencer started replying to phantom dust related question...did this actually cause the dude to actually consider this :-O...I mean US|Gamer articles which i love can also get this going if you guys mention tweet phil about bringing phantom dust back i think the chance is more likely....i think this is actually triggering the possibility of a reboot.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #8 MHWilliams 4 years ago
    @marcos.14 Hey, if you're the person making it happen: rock on. I need this game.
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  • Avatar for scardeo #9 scardeo 4 years ago
    I love this game so much I got it when I was younger but never got a chance to play online but even now I still throw in the 360 at least twice a week with my friends and go a couple rounds I've been hoping for a sequel for years this is an amazing game and hopefully there will be a sequel that is as good as the original
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