Thanks once again to Marcel for showing to me!
Skybox Labs are a 40 person strong developer based in Burnaby, British Columbia in Canada and are likely to more familiar to Xbox and PC gamers for Microsoft titles than gamers will realise. Founded by ex-Electronic Arts veterans in 2011 they have worked with Microsoft Studios for a while now on a variety of games to either help in development or port older games to PC, their credits for this work are on:
- Project Spark (Xbox One/PC) – Assisting Team Dakota in development
- Rise of Nations: Extended Edition (PC) – Porting the game to Steam
- Age of Mythology: Extended Edition (PC) – Porting the game to Steam
- Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten (PC) – Continue to develop patches and updates for the game and help make the community developed expansion “The Forgotten” an official add-on to Age of Empires 2
- Kinect Nat Geo TV (Xbox 360) – Assist developer Relentless Software in development
As you can see the main focus of their development has been on Microsoft’s RTS franchises which is no surprise given the developers background with the Command and Conquer series, they have also developed some mobile/tablet games and assisted on the development of EAs UFC game for Xbox One and Playstation 4 which release last year.
So what is the basis for this post? Well, their website gives some insight into what we can expect to come from them in the near future.
As you can see from the image below they have 4 unannounced games which they are working on, although no specific are given we can assume that at least one of them is likely to be for Microsoft Studios again, although I suspect they are working on more than 1. The main game that is of interest to me is the unannounced game in development for Xbox One.
We can speculate a couple of things here: possibly a game for the ID@Xbox program, assisting development on a Microsoft Studios game, a new game published by Microsoft Studios or perhaps a third-party developed game just for Xbox One. Given their size, current workload and history i’d say its much more likely they are either assisting in development of an unannounced title (like they did Project Spark) or they are doing work on a HD Remaster. There are multiple candidates for this from the Xbox 360 Fable 1-3, Halo 3: ODST – which has no announced developer, Halo Reach, Halo Wars, Alan Wake or perhaps further back from the original Xbox days. It’s also possible given their location they’re working with Black Tusk on Gears of War or even another new title entirely, Halo Wars as a console RTS title getting a sequel is also a distinct possibility.
Next up is their other 3 games: two for “PC/Steam” and one for Samsung VR, I think we can all agree the Samsung VR game isn’t going to be Microsoft Studios related so we’ll leave that. They could be working on a new HD Extended Edition for Age of Empires 1 as well as assisting Microsoft’s new RTS studio Decisive Games on development of whatever they are making which is likely to be Age of Empires or Rise of Nations based. I think its unlikely any of their games for Microsoft are full titles (either sequels to older IP or original games) but that’s not to say they don’t have any in development.
Skybox Labs have proven themselves to be a very competent developer with their past work and it will be interesting to see what these new titles are as games are unveiled this year. With the Microsoft Windows 10 event in January perhaps we wont have too long to wait.