Canceled Xbox One Exclusive, Stormlands was going to use the Cloud to power dynamic 40-player raids
Microsoft dreamed beyond what was possible.
Xbox One fans are no stranger to the canceled exclusive. While Scalebound is the most infamous name embodying this unfortunate designation, nothing that game was going to do sounds as massive as what Obsidian was going to attempt with Stormlands. Eurogamer landed an exclusive interview with Obsidian co-owner and CEO, Feargus Urquhart, where they reveal the long defunct project alongside screenshots (like the one above) for the first time ever.
Stormlands was going to be a Witcher-like Action-RPG where giant monsters could dynamically appear in the environment and players could charge forth and take them on in a Raid with the help of dozens of other players, all of whom saw the same monster in the same moment in their own game. All the while, footage of the battle is being recorded and sent to the cloud which is then intelligently edited and sent back to the player for their own personal account of the events of the battle.
Stormlands was going to be an Xbox One launch exclusive, but as Obsidian says, the vision for the game kept straying away from what Microsoft had initially wanted. This was in large part because Microsoft kept pushing ideas, and Obsidian found themselves having to meet greater and greater expectations in the face of the looming deadline of the Xbox One's launch.
Microsoft told Obsidian to add more staff, though doing so is much easier said than done. This is not to mention that simply adding more developers doesn't necessarily equal work getting done faster. Game development is a far messier process than many of us realize, and more people on board can mean greater potential for things to go wrong.
Alas, it was not meant to be, and in 2012, Urquhart got the call from Microsoft that the game had been canceled. As a result, Obsidian had to lay off multiple staffers and quickly get themselves back on track quickly.
Fortunately, Obsidian is doing quite well for themselves today, as Pillars of Eternity 2 is their biggest project in the pipeline alongside an expansion for Tyranny, a small Pathfinder card game, and more prominent unannounced project. Still, it would have been nice for Xbox fans to have Stormlands as a launch exclusive.