Back in 2013, Microsoft announced its latest and greatest console, The XBOX ONE. A powerful machine created for the sole purpose of bringing together your entire entertainment set up in one place. Well, I don’t have to tell how that resulted, to say that The XBOX One launch was a failure is an understatement, at this point with the PS4 in an obvious lead, and the Nintendo Switch becoming everyone’s go-to secondary console the Xbox One is cemented in third place this generation. However, with a change in leadership and innovation that seemed insane at the time, now becoming the norm today, Microsoft didn’t just fix the Xbox One, they re-invented it. Today, however, I’ll be looking at something, that a lot of people seem to forget when talking about the Xbox One, the games. Granted when revealed games were the last thing on Microsoft’s mind, however, games were announced with titles such as Killer Instinct re-inventing how fighting games are handled, and Halo Master Chief Collection bringing the best from Microsoft’s past into the hands of current gamers.
However, the games on this list while not forgotten by all, they just could not survive the stigma of being associated with the Xbox One, during a time when hating The Xbox was just the law of the land. Not all the games on this list were considered failures, and some even went on to have success, however, whether it was time exclusivity or trying to re-invent the wheel. These games just could not survive the early onslaught of Xbox One hate. With that said here are 5 Great Xbox One games that no one played.
5. Project Sparks
Project Sparks created by Skybox Labs, was a game that could best be described as Little Big Planet on steroids, The game had a simple premise, give the player the power to create anything, and they were not kidding. From the Beta, players were already creating FPS, adventure games, and RPGs, the scale of the game was only as huge as your imagination, so what happened? Project Sparks was set to release in 2014, a year after the XBOX One was announced. This was during the peak of hatred that gamers had toward the console, so gamers mostly ignored the game’s release.
However, the biggest problem with Project Spark was the learning curve. With such an ambitious idea the tutorial was very demanding and as satisfying as the results were learning how map brains into an AI was just too much to ask. That is sad because Skybox did provide tutorials on their Youtube channel. I recommend that you take a look at them because you can tell that they had high hopes for the game. Unfortunately, the servers were close down in 2016 essentially killing the game.
Developed by Motiga, Gigantic was a team base control game, that pinned two teams against each other. The goal was to damage the other team’s titan, by triggering your own titan. You accomplish this by destroying the pillars of the other team. If there is anything that can be said about Gigantic is that it had charm, the art style, and slick animation made the game stick out from the pack. Gameplay-wise the game is skilled-based, you would start the match at zero and unlock more skills as the match continues. The game was even advertised as one of the first games for the new Xbox play anywhere feature. Outside of being an XBOX exclusive, which would give every game a massive handicap on this list, the other and more likely reason why the game failed was the over-saturation of the market. Gigantic was announced back in 2014, fast forward a few E3 trailers, and a Beta later, Gigantic finally saw the light of day on July 20, 2017. By this time games like Smite, Paladins, and Overwatch already established themselves. Hero shooters became so oversaturated that Gigantic being the new kid on the block, really needed to prove itself, and as fun, as the game was, even I had to admit I was playing Overwatch at the time. Gigantic lasted only a year before servers went down.
3. Rise of the Tomb Raider
Developed by Crystal Dynamic, Rise of the Tomb Raiders is a sequel to the reboot of Tomb Raider. Rise of the Tomb Raider placed Laura Croft against Trinity the evil cooperation with connections to the Croft family. Now, this is an interesting entry as Rise of the Tomb Raider was a timed exclusive which caused a lot of confusion within the gaming community. No one knew if the game was coming out on PS4, or not. In the end Rise of the Tomb Raider reportedly made its money back on the XBOX, but saw actual profit on the PS4. So why did Microsoft make such an effort to obtain Tomb Raider? The answer, Uncharted, The Xbox need a mascot that could match Nathan Drake. Laura Croft was the perfect solution, however, that is where the problem starts.
The original Tomb Raider came out in 1996 for the PS1, PC, and Sega Saturn. This meant that Tomb Raider could be considered a Sony staple. So having a franchise with that history make a jump to Xbox meant that there was always going to be a backlash from die-hard fans, resulting in gamers ignoring it, or waiting for it to come out on PS4. On the bright side, Microsoft and Crystal Dynamic seemed to have a good relationship since the follow-up Shadow of the Tomb Raider was mostly advertise through Xbox.
Developed by Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall is a futuristic FPS, that pinned the outer colony rebels versus the IMC (Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation). As far as the story goes that is all we got, however, the gameplay is where the game truly shines. Placed in a large map, two teams of 6 players would battle to eliminate the other. Each map took advantage of one of the core features of the game, the movement system which had players seamlessly maneuver through one end of the map to another. Momentum was the key to survive each match, skilled players could easily move around and gather as many kills as possible. Less experienced players could take advantage of the AI bots that would spawn throughout the map to gain EXP without ever seeing another player. After a few kills, the real fun would begin as you were given the power to summon a Titan. A giant robot that would turn the match toward the team’s favor. Despite this the game was balanced, a single player could take down one titan. The biggest complaint was that outside of multiplayer the game didn’t offer anything else since there was no campaign. After release, the game truly started to suffer as the upcoming DLC would divide the fanbase, as casual players would not buy the DLC, and as a result, they would be locked out of future events. With a divided fanbase, the new IP just didn’t seem that worth it for the players. Thankfully, a lot of these mistakes were fixed for Titanfall 2.
1. Sunset Overdrive
If there was any game that just took such a beating from the Xbox hate between 2013 and 2014 it was Sunset Overdrive. Developed by Insomniac Games, Sunset Overdrive took advantage of the zombie craze at the time and turned it on its head. The story started with the player working as a janitor for the released of FizzCo’s new energy drink, OverCharge Delirium XT, the drink, however, comes with the side effect of turning everyone into a zombie. From its opening hours, the game hits you with its personality and charm that throws me back to my high days without coming off as too try-hard, like my high school days. Everything from the respawn animation, the guns, and the world this game is a piece of art. Unlike every other game on this list, Sunset Overdrive did everything right and simply failed. Sunset Overdrive was made by Insomniac Games, and when you look at their back catalog you notice that they mostly made Playstation games, and even after this they continued to make Playstations games. As I mentioned before a company jumping ship, especially back in 2013 seemed like such a gamble. The sad truth is that Sunset Overdrive was not a failure, it was just forgotten.