After three long years, Microsoft has finally released more details about Phantom Dust HD. While the publisher announced a remaster of the 2004 cult-classic during E3 2014, it has been mostly quiet about the up-rezzed card battler ever since. With its unique mix of addictive deck building and tactical third-person combat, the little-known game earned itself a devoted fanbase -- and they've been waiting patiently to play it in high definition.
Producer Adam Isgreen broke the silence during an interview with Polygon, confirming that it will run at 1080p on Xbox One and support 4K on PC. Thankfully he brought evidence with him too, allowing us all to finally see the remaster in action in the video below.
While it looks serviceable, Isgreen's interview shed some light on what held up this seemingly simple project for so long. When the team recovered the original game archives from Japan, Isgreen revealed that Phantom Dust's source code was nowhere to be found. In order to start making improvements, the team had to hack into the original code and reverse engineer it, making their job that bit harder. Impressively, the studio found its way in, implementing achievement support, adding in options to skip story sections and even modernizing its online multiplayer.
Through these hacks, the team were able to upload every one of Phantom Dust's cards to Microsoft's cloud, allowing them to re-balance the game as they please. Controversially though, Phantom Dust HD will also feature a mix of free and paid DLC, with a free deck allowing players to bypass the story and jump right into the multiplayer. Depending on the game's price, however, these paid microtransactions may not sit well with fans, with paid decks potentially giving other players an edge online.
Interestingly, Isgreen revealed that a pricing model hadn't been set -- hinting that the remaster might even be part of Xbox's Games With Gold program. In a forum post, the dev said "The short of it is that we want everyone to be able to play PD, so you can expect it'll be priced accordingly." With Microsoft's Phil Spencer stating that it will be out before E3 this year, fans could potentially see the long-awaited remaster arrive sometime over the next few weeks.
It's been a bit of an ordeal, but it looks like Phantom Dust devotees might finally be through the worst. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to obsessively check that Xbox One Dashboard.
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