Even Xbox chief Phil Spencer didn’t know about the Phantom Dust re-release

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How can the Xbox chief not know about an Xbox game nearing release? But that’s exactly what happened with Phil Spencer and one of the more interesting announcements to come out of Microsoft’s portion of E3, reports Polygon: the re-release of Phantom Dust.

It’s ok for you to not know what Phantom Dust is: after all, the game is one of those critically-acclaimed sleeper hits of the Xbox era. In the words of Shanon Loftis – Microsoft Studios head of first-party publishing – Phantom Dust is “a collectable card game wrapped in action RPG”, designed by Yukio Futatsugi, the same man behind classics from the Sega Saturn era like Panzer Dragoon.

“Shannon runs a big part of our organization, so she has money that she just squirreled away to go do something. She brings in this video — I don’t actually know what video they released, I’m sure it wasn’t what they showed me — but it said “reimagined for Xbox Live.” She went through all of the things, and it said “early 2017,” I think, and then it said “Phantom Dust.” So I asked “What is this?” And she said, “It’s Phantom Dust. It’s happening.” And I said “What are you talking about, it’s happening?!” And she said that it was almost done.”

– Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox

Like many other quirky but awesome games, it somehow got an exclusive release in Japan in 2003 (despite being from Microsoft Studios) and very limited availability in the West. Too bad, because apparently people who had the chance to play the game had some pretty positive things to say about it. Heck, it elicited the below response from Phil Spencer, who literally got informed about Phantom Dust’s existence three weeks before E3.

Phantom Dust on Xbox One will be a re-release, not a re-master or remake, meaning the whole game will be brought over to Microsoft’s current console from the original Xbox, albeit with some light tweaks to fit the modern age of gaming; in other words, it will be a “way-back machine into gaming” in Loftis words. The game is expected to be a paid, value title, though no potential price were disclosed.

All in all, the re-release of Phantom Dust sounds like a big love letter to long-time Xbox fans, and gaming fans in general, showing Microsoft’s reinvigorated focus on gamers for its Xbox consoles going forward. Loftis is already putting out a challenge to gamers: apparently in the 13-years of the original Phantom Dust’s existence, no one has ever been able to make a perfect “arsenal” (or card collection”) in the game. Will you be the one? 2017 will be your chance to shine when the game is released. Stay tuned for more exciting Phantom Dust and Xbox news going forward.