We got our first look at Project Spark, the DIY game creation tool when Microsoft announced it as an Xbox One exclusive at their E3 press conference last June. Now we’re getting a better idea of what exactly it can do, and it’s shaping up to be Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s wildly popular Little Big Planet, taken to a 3D environment.
In its E3 debut, Spark presented a third-person adventure game complete with a character who created his own Earth-slides on the fly. Now word comes down (via OXM) that developer Team Dakota has rebuilt the beloved 1996 PC space-combat game Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter using Spark’s tools.
Now we’re excited.
“Every power up was included and the X-Wing was fully functioning,” says Microsoft Studios manager Michael Saxs Persson.
Persson added that, “Somebody else did Force Unleashed, just to see if it could be done.” While that’s nice, it’s significantly harder to secure a copy of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter these days than Force Unleashed. The game itself is out of print, and as yet neither LucasArts nor current rights holder Electronic Arts have released a downloadable version despite widespread demand.
That it can be remade inside another game just adds fuel to two fires…one calling for X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter to finally make its way to Origin, Steam, or Good Old Games, and another suggesting a great deal of potential for Project Spark when it comes to user-generated content, particularly since it won’t be limited to a 2D plane as LittleBigPlanet is.
Not that Spark will lack for 2D games. Team Dakota has already released a video montage of community-created games using Project Spark. It’s not tough to pick out a few examples inspired by other Xbox favorites like Limbo and Geometry Wars:
Spark allows players to start with a pre-designed template or work from a blank slate, changing the landscape, adding plant and animal life, and then tweaking behaviors for both inanimate and living objects.
Details aren’t forthcoming as yet, but it’s a no-brainer that Project Spark will allow users to share user-created levels to their hearts’ content. It could possibly rival or surpass LittleBigPlanet, which just announced its 8 millionth user-created level, in popularity. It has one more major ace in its corner: Unlike LBP, Spark will be released as a free download when it’s ready, according to producer David Sapienza.
Microsoft hasn’t announced a release window yet. But when it does see the light of day, it would be nice to see Team Dakota’s take on X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. Just to satisfy our curiosity. Really.