A torrent of new details about the Phantom Dust HD re-release have finally been made public. The latest report on the project doesn’t answer all of our questions, and might even generate a bit of controversy among purists, but it should assuage the fears of any Xbox One owner worried Phantom Dust would never make it to Microsoft’s latest console.
The amount of information we’ve been given about the Phantom Dust revival since the project was announced at E3 2014 could probably fit on a single sticky note. The last “big” update from Phil Spencer is already a month old and was limited to a single screenshot from an early build of the HD re-release. But Polygon recently spoke with Microsoft Studios Creative Director Adam Isgreen about the long-awaited Phantom Dust update and managed to pry some new information out of him. Most notably, Isgreen says Microsoft Studios had to reassemble the source code for the retail build of Phantom Dust because it hadn’t been archived anywhere. And that didn’t just create a lot of extra work for the studio. It also left Microsoft Studios uncertain as to what it could deliver.
“There was no final source code,” Isgreen told Polygon. “Everything that we’ve been able to do in this version of Phantom Dust has been through reverse-engineering the binaries, and actually hacking and cracking the code back open.”
The upside is that rebuilding the source code has given the team a deeper understanding of how the game works. It also made it much easier to modernize Phantom Dust and even add hooks for new downloadable content. The creative director says free DLC released at launch will make it easier for experienced players to build a quick collection of skills for multiplayer. Isgreen also confirmed Microsoft Studios won’t modify the progression rate from the original Phantom Dust release, but we will see consumables items in the HD version’s multiplayer mode. The team still can’t add new features to the game, or modify the existing campaign, so longtime fans shouldn’t expect any major surprises from the Phantom Dust remaster. But it will render in native 4K!
The wide-ranging interview covered a plethora of other topics too. Isgreen offers some insight on updating the game’s DirectX support and the quality of life changes Microsoft Studios says we’ll see in the Phantom Dust re-release. The creative director also discusses changes the studio made to card distribution and source code modifications that make card balancing much easier for the team that will support Phantom Dust ’s multiplayer community after launch. And there’s some good news for anyone hoping Microsoft Studios might contribute a few new skills to the cult classic. No outright confirmations, but plenty of teases.
For more on Phantom Dust , including new gameplay footage, check out Polygon’s 19-minute interview with Adam Isgreen. And for a quick reminder of why Microsoft is bringing back this highly underrated IP, take a minute to watch the Phantom Dust teaser trailer published last year.
Phantom Dust is in development for Xbox One but there’s no official release date at this time.