Why was the original Crimson Dragon canned?

Futatsugi on the evolution of the Xbox One launch title. 

Grounding's Yukio Futatsugi has spoken of his initial shock at Microsoft's decision to can the original and finished version of Crimson Dragon as it asked him to prepare it afresh as an Xbox One launch title.

Crimson Dragon was announced as part of Microsoft's last significant wave of Japan-developed exclusives at the Tokyo Game Show in 2011, when it was known as Project Draco. Since then it's kept a low profile - despite a temporary leak on Xbox Live - and was assumed AWOL.

Microsoft revealed earlier this year that it had become an Xbox One launch title, and whereas the first pass of Crimson Dragon leant heavily on Kinect the new version allows players to use a more traditional controller.

"When we announced the 360 version we had a lot of people saying why can't we use the controller - so we could not ignore those fans," said a smiling Futatsugi in an interview with Eurogamer at Tokyo Game Show.

"And we couldn't really do Kinect only, so we had to rethink the strategy, and so we centred on the controller but kept some Kinect features."

In the Xbox One's Crimson Dragon, players can guide a partner dragon by leaning their body, while elsewhere free roaming sections have been introduced for boss battles. With gamepad controls reinstated, the link between Crimson Dragon and Futatsugi's past Panzer Dragoon games is stronger than ever.

Microsoft made the decision to make the switch at E3 last year, where it notified Futatsugi. "We were talking about these things in a hotel room and was told this news. I was shocked, but you know ultimately I think it's worked out well - though I won't forget that episode."

Despite the initial shock, Futatsugi's happy for the new higher-profile opportunity. "When we're creating a launch title, that's a great challenge and is worthwhile to work on," he said. "To be able to create a launch title with Crimson Dragon, well I was initially surprised but at the same time I thought that this is some really worthwhile work to do - so that's how I felt."

Crimson Dragon's a download-only title that costs $19.99 (UK price wasn't available at the time of writing) - and since its move to the Xbox One it's been significantly lengthened, with the RPG elements expanded upon to accommodate the more lengthy play sessions associated with traditional gamepad play.

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About the author

Martin Robinson

Martin Robinson

Deputy Editor

Martin is Eurogamer's features and reviews editor. He has a Gradius 2 arcade board and likes to play racing games with special boots and gloves on.

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