During an interview with The Inner Circle podcast, Xbox Division Head Phil Spencer was given a list of old and glorious franchises: Halo Wars, Alan Wake, MechAssault, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Blinx the Time Sweeper, Fusion Frenzy, Banjo Kazooie, Kameo, High Heat Baseball, Otogi, Knights of The Old Republic and Shenmue.
He was asked if there was a chance for any of those franchises to return on Xbox One, and his response was definitely a tease, even if he mentioned that he could not talk about the,:
There are a couple games on that list that we’re doing some work on. I’ll just say that.
People should know that we listen to feedback, we have ideas, and there are franchises in the past we thing would be great to come again.
Spencer continued by mentioning that differently from some of his predecessors he wants to invest in Microsoft-owned franchises, not just because of the business side of it, but also looking at the long term and at what Nintendo has built over the years, with “such a great stable of franchises” he wants to get to that same place.
It’s definitely hard not to be intrigued. Spencer mentioned during the interview that MechAssault isn’t being worked on, while he’s not very involved in franchises owned by others like KOTOR and Shenmue, so the “couple games” he’s talking about are probably part of the rest of the list.
About High Heat Baseball he explained that he hears the feedback, but while other first parties do some sports games, it’s hard to do them due to licensing costs. It bugs him that there isn’t a great baseball game on Xbox One, he wants there to be one, and that’s something he’ll focus on, but he doesn’t know if he’d use a first party studio for it.
The time of our best creative people is the most precious thing in our business, and I want them focused on the things that kinda build long term for us as Xbox owners.
For those that love Rare, spencer also mentioned that the last time he’s been at the studio he encouraged them to “Make an iconic Rare game that centers on what Rare’s always been about,” and while he still hasn’t seen it yet, it’s likely that we’ll see something like that coming from the studio.
Finally, he also talked about titles coming next year, saying that the flow of games coming is “crazy,” and Microsoft has things signed and under way for 2016 already. They’re big games that they are being started two or three years in advance. Exclusive first party content is critical to Xbox’s long term success and that’s something he intends to push as head of Xbox.