It’s E3 week! A time that’s quite literally bursting with gaming news from all areas, all the time — especially now, when we’re right in the middle of all the big conferences. Naturally the majority of the news out there is going to be looking towards the future with new games, new consoles and all that sort of thing — but Retronauts won’t hesitate to bring you tidbits that are more oriented towards the past. For instance, one of the more intriguing announcements from last night’s Microsoft conference, if only for what it means, is that soon the Xbox One will have the ability to play selected OG Xbox games. It’s kind of surprising in many ways, but it does rather sum up the differences between the two companies.
Of course, the Xbox does need as many angles as it can get — it’s falling behind in the console race, with the PS4 far outshining the Xbone in almost every department. Too many folks who own one have complained that the system doesn’t give them the chance to go all Jesse Pinkman and shout “Xbox On” more than once every 3-6 months or so. Xbox 360 backwards compatibility has often been a selling point for the machine in the past, often with the arrival of something legendary that’s not easily played elsewhere such as Red Dead Redemption, and Microsoft’s learned friendliness towards backwards compatibility is in direct contrast to Sony — who have not really cared about it much since taking PS2 compatibility out of the PS3, and are instead content to offer a limited range of older games through their PlayStation Now streaming service…still, highlighting the OG Xbox for backwards compatibilty now is a surprise, considering there’s games on there that are now old enough to take their GCSE exams. Are there any games from that long ago that lots of people are interested in picking up again?
In the end, perhaps there is — in particular, Phil Spencer flagged up the almighty Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge as a title that you could be playing again soon when the Original Xbox games return in late 2017. That’s an interesting choice — not just because it’s a much-loved series of games that’s sat dormant for many years and would probably be welcomed back with open arms if a new title so happened to be announced, but because it was a pretty popular multiplayer game back in the day too — hell, that was a large part of its appeal, and that’s the case with other potential sellers like Halo 1 and 2, or even something like Phantasy Star Online and the original Phantom Dust. The Xbox Live 1.0 servers have been down since 2014, but is there a possibility that these new releases will bring some sort of online functionality back? And why doesn’t anybody bother to announce a new Crimson Skies game already? This is certainly one of those items that provide more questions than answers, but I don’t think we’ll know how truly committed Microsoft are to this until we’re able to play WWE Raw 2 on the Xbox One — if they can get the trash right, then other better games will assuredly be fine.