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.