So, that’s a bit of a horrendous title but you’ll hopefully see why if you read on! One Bit Labs are a studio I have been loosely been following ever since a friend of mine (@Doffen) brought them to my attention. One Bit Labs are a studio formed from the ashes of Microsoft Studios Victoria who was of course one of the new studios Microsoft opened a while ago and closed in December 2013 for reasons unknown officially.
Based on speculation it seems the intention was to grow the studio into a big base for Xbox development and part of an expansion into Canada, Don Mattrick the former head of the Xbox and related products division is a resident of Vancouver which is where Black Tusk and Big Park (acquired by Microsoft to developed Kinect Joy Ride then Joy Ride Turbo, Kinect Sports Season 2 with Rare and now sports and entertainment apps) are and he was deeply involved in Big Park before he went to Microsoft.
As part of this internal studios expansion Microsoft set-up among others; Lift London, Team Dakota, Black Tusk and Microsoft Studios Victoria, but when Victoria was shut down a group of ex-employees decided to band together and formed One Bit Labs, its worth noting that they were seemingly working on Hololens projects at MS Victoria.
So what have been One Bit Labs been up to? Their website has long given some suggestion of Xbox One work particularly in their hiring section which has mentioned “especially Xbox One” experience for some time but now have a bit clearer picture of what exactly they’ve been working on.
Just above that though there is a section titled “Current Work” which lists two box arts for Xbox One games, the first is State of Decay Year One Survival Edition which releases this month and the second is labelled “Top Secret” which unless they have a very plainly named and logo’d game is something clearly unannounced:
So what could it be? Well it could be anything, the work on State of Decay for Xbox One seems like it is contract work which is work done to help Undead Labs and a common industry trend, so it could be more of that, they could be porting something else to Xbox One. It could be an entirely new game either original or based on an established IP for Microsoft (or other publisher) or perhaps an ID@Xbox title, it’s not clear but I would say that I think whatever it is will likely be for Microsoft Studios in some way or another.
It is worth noting that they seem to have aspirations for Playstation 4 and tablet development (or aren’t ruling it out anyway) given that they have a Dualshock 4 and a tablet as part of their big image on their website so it will be interesting to see where they go in the future.
I will monitor their website to see if they update it at all and report back when they have more to say, its good to see that the studio is getting work though and hopefully they will get to realise their ambitions for the studio as time goes on.