Canceled Xbox One launch exclusive 'Stormlands' detailed by Obsidian CEO

Over five years ago, Obsidian Entertainment was working on a large-scale title known as "Stormlands," which was set to kick off the release of the Xbox One. While previously we've known of its existence and the basics of the role-playing game (RPG), since its cancellation, both the developer and Microsoft have remained relatively quiet the project.

In a recent interview, Eurogamer sat down with Obsidian CEO, Feargus Urquhart, to discuss the now-abandoned title, touching on the vision, the studio's relationship with Microsoft and how the Stormland's fate came to be. The lengthy discussion dives deep into the ideas behind Stormlands and what players could've expected, while exploring the struggles of its development.

As explained by Urquhart, the concept Microsoft pitched was likened to The Witcher RPG series, with an MMO (massively-multiplayer online) edge. With players converging on massive bosses in open shared-worlds, the game would seamlessly match-make 40-man raids, requiring a shared effort to defeat towering creatures. With all footage from these conflicts being recorded to the cloud, "intelligent editing" would be used to automatically deliver personalized highlights of these battles.

Eurogamer was recently given the opportunity to have a closer look at Stormlands while providing some screenshots of the original Xbox 360 build running on a PC. Even to this day, the game holds up visually, taking advantage of the same engine that powered Obsidian's Dungeon Siege III. The demo also featured fully-voiced dialogue with conversational choices between characters, showing the scope of the experience in mind. We've also previously heard of Kinect supposedly being integrated into the game, to add a verbal edge to interaction.

While internally Stormlands was well received in early development, over time the game continued to stay away from Microsoft's original vision. Although the concept showed promise, differences between the two firms and their visions eventually lead to the project being canned.

Today, Obsidian continues to grow strong with an impressive catalog of titles, such Pillars of Eternity, Tyranny, and Fallout: New Vegas in their past. However, a peek into what Stormlands could've been in interesting nevertheless.

In an era where Microsoft's upcoming console pushed online cloud connectivity, integrated Game DVR sharing, and the ill-fated Kinect sensor, it's clear where Stormlands would've sat in the Xbox One's lineup. Like many games of the time, the title looked to take advantage of some of the console's biggest features, however, struggled to coalesce during development.

For a deeper look into what Stormlands may have offered, make sure to read the full interview with our friends over at Eurogamer. What do you think of Stormlands? Would you have been interested in the title? Make sure to drop your thoughts in the comments.

Eurogamer: Stormlands and the million-man raid: Obsidian's cancelled Xbox One exclusive

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

  • another one down...
  • Sad. Microsoft could really use some new IPs with interesting ideas and stories. Sony is far superior in that department with great single player experiences
  • Sony lacks just as bad if not worst in the multiplayer aspect of gaming. All the best multiplayer ps4 games are on xb1 but not all of the best multiplayer xb1 games are on ps4. It's best to own both but this is a multiplayer game not a single player.
  • The only really good multi-player game on the Xbox is Halo 5, so don't say that Sony lacks on multi-player games.
    it isn't very well known but Sony also has great multi-player games, not as good as Halo 5 but they have multi-player. You fans of Xbox should demand for more exclusives instead of trying to make excuses. Sony is already so much better in that department and the next year it is going to be even worse.
  • I'm not asking for exclusives, in fact I absolutely hate exlucsives. In a perfect world exclusives would not exist. However I did find the overall singleplayer offering last E3 a bit ... disappointing to say the least. There were very few titles that immediately grabbed my attention and got me hyped.
  • Exclusives are a necessary evil, this is how console manufacturers can compete with each other by trying to have the best games possible and we as consumers benefit from that. There is a reason why is usal to find exclusives competing for GOTY
  • I think there is already enough competition on the market without exclusives. Not having exclusives would force the console OEMs to do even better because then it is their hard- and software that has to do the persuading which would also benefit us all. Also I think (at least on Xbox) the quality of exclusives has really gone down in recent years.
  • calm down fanboy.  majority of us still have backlog of great games dating all the way to xbox 360.  At this point, plenty of people have tons of games they haven't played on Steam, and Xbox that they have purchased when they were on sale.  
  • First off: I am not a fanboy. Secondly, yes that is true, it is still different from getting hyped about a new game that is going to come out, however. Something I did not really have last E3. I was quite a bit disappointed by what was presented tbh. Nothing too exciting imo
  • Damage controlling a company's failure in providing enough games for their customers and he is the one calling others "fanboy"... LOL
    Your posting history shows what you're all about. Someone who supports a XB1 without br drive because Sony wouldn't get little money. LOL
  • Makes sense this would have the stench of Don Mattrick on it.  His stint leading up to the launch of the XB1 was an absolute catastrophe.
  • Right, I guess the current drought is also because of Don Mattrick? Personally I don't think the current management is any better. I would say they might be even worse...
  • It would have fared a lot worse, if it weren't for spencer and his crew, he brought it back from the brink of death. Its still struggling but at least it walking now instead of drowning... and its more consumer friendly since they had to woo the consumers back..
  • Spencer and his crew were part of MS and had executive roles for a lot longer than Mattrick was in the company. I doubt it would have been worse. The drought of exclusive is worse than the Mattrick era.
  • It's amazing that whenever someone criticise MS because they don't invest enough in making games for their gamers, we have MS/XB "fans" coming and attacking the guy and damage controlling.  These people are actually very bad for gaming, all gamers and XB1 owners.
    If MS listen to these idiots they'll stop investing and make this a 3rd party console. According to them the annual Forza and the few indies that MS have been announcing in the last 2 E3s is more than enough.  "Fans" of company/brands are the worst. No one should listen to them or take them seriously. Personally I hope MS invest more in making games. 
  • LOL Surprise, surprise... I've got 2 down votes, zero replies. Looks like I upset a couple of coward fanboys... lol These people wants don't like when I attack fanboys. These people don't like when I attack their kind... :)