We all but buried and eulogized Microsoft’s attempts at rebooting the Phantom Dust franchise. Shady stories about underhanded budget tactics painted a bleak picture for the game’s future, but Microsoft’s Phil Spencer continued to insist that the company was dedicated to the project.
Could his words have been more than just mere smoke and mirrors?
Microsoft has filed once again for the Phantom Dust trademark, as discovered by DualShockers. The company could just be protecting its property, but it’s also possible we might see this turn up again at E3 2016.
Phantom Dust was an original Xbox card-based action game that never caught on to great success. Of course, it enjoys a loyal cult of followers all these years later, and Microsoft, trying to boost the Xbox One’s niche cred, announced a reboot at E3 2014. Many fans felt the sting of the behind the scenes drama when the development studio closed, and it certainly didn’t look good for Microsoft’s image.
My guess is that some studio stepped in to salvage the project, and we’ll be seeing it as a barebones multiplayer game this year at E3. No more of that 30 hour JRPG nonsense or that horrendous CG trailer from E3 2014. Microsoft wants the title published because it needs niche exclusives to counter the upcoming wave of PlayStation JRPGs, but it’s not going to throw a significant budget at such an absurdly small market and unproven title.
And I’m fine with that. Phantom Dust needs to prove it’s worth the money to exist like every other franchise out there, and that would be the best place to start. Keep your expectations in check, especially because this trademark might lead to nothing, and a happy ending might still be waiting at the end of this closed novel.