The number of high-profile exclusives Microsoft has cancelled lately has become a little worrisome. The latest casualty was of course Scalebound. Before that it was Fable Legends, then it was Phantom Dust, and Project Spark, and, well, you get the picture. Microsoft seems to be keen to cancel all but its most core of franchises, and in the case of Fable Legends, even its core IP. Yet Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox division at Microsoft, has come out and reassured fans that Microsoft is still willing to take risks on new ideas.
“I know we have to take risks, I realize right now probably sounds hollow but I agree”, wrote Spencer in a tweet. "[Cancelling Scalebound] hurt me as well and to the community I apologize. I want everything we start to turn out great, to take risks, create diversity."
It looks increasingly likely bad blood formed between Microsoft and Scalebound developer PlatinumGames. From the sounds of things development milestones weren’t being hit and Microsoft wasn’t happy about it. With its own first-party studios Microsoft has a lot more control, yet dealing with a 3rd party Japanese outfit like PG clearly proved divisive.
There is an argument to be had that Microsoft’s console is all too quickly becoming a Halo/Gears/Forza machine. These are the three pillars on which the entire Xbox franchise now stands and it seems Microsoft is a little reluctant to branch outside of this.
That said there are a couple of interesting projects on the horizon, notably Rare’s Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 and of course Crackdown 3. Cast your eye over the announced Xbox and Windows Store exclusives and it’s slim pickings apart from this lot though. There’s also little to inspire interest in the inevitable Halo 6, Forza 7 and Gears of War 5.
Do you believe Microsoft is still willing to take risks as a games publisher? Is its list of 'exclusive' titles strong enough to compete with Sony and Nintendo? Let us know your thoughts!