At the unveiling of Microsoft's next-gen Xbox One last week, Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer took to the stage to reveal, to the chagrin of video game enthusiasts, just two new games. One was a sequel, Turn 10 Studios' Forza Motorsport 5, and the other a brand new property, Remedy's Quantum Break.
Spencer promised much more in the Xbox One's first year. Fifteen games, a mix of familiar and all-new properties, will come to Xbox One in its first 12 months on the market, he said. We'll see more at E3, he said.
After the Xbox One's unveiling, Polygon caught up with Spencer to learn more about Microsoft's plans for developing games, both at owned studios like Rare Ltd. and Black Tusk and with the help of third-party publishers and indie developers.
While it appears that Xbox One won't allow indie developers to self-publish their games, requiring an approved partner to get their titles on Xbox Live, Spencer told Polygon that Microsoft is working to bring independently developed games to its new Xbox and working on ways to make that process of doing so easier.
"I love indie games," Spencer said. "Personally, that's where I'm playing a lot of games. I love the diversity of characters, stories and play styles. We want to make the television screen a home for more content, diversity of business model, size of content. Look at 360 and our history investing in games like Braid, Limbo, Castle Crashers and Trials. I think the team has done a nice job of identifying small indie developers and bringing those games [to Xbox]."
"Moving forward," he said, "I think you're going to see more diversity in business models and price points and — most important to me — creativity."
Spencer wouldn't elaborate on Microsoft's plans to court indie developers, as Sony has very publicly done recently, or how it intends to smooth relationships with indie developers who have balked at the company's policies. But he did tell Polygon that Microsoft is investing "a ton in refining [our] certification process" to make it easier for developers to update their titles.
Microsoft will also continue to invest in games developed by Japanese creators, he said, to "ensure their content comes to our platforms."
In our interview, Spencer touched briefly on the status of Quantum Break, Remedy Entertainment's new title that blends live action content with gameplay. The game, which is not a launch title, he said, is still early in development and that Microsoft and Remedy are "trying to push the boundaries of how people think of live action and gaming today."
"The unique capability of Remedy, I think is around storytelling," Spencer said. "And television's always been a great place to tell strong stories. We've got this interactive component ... where actions in one and viewing in one, impact what people are doing in the other. That's our creative idea."
"The team has enough momentum in that space, I thought, so it was a great opportunity to put them on stage and show something. We'll talk more as the game evolves."
For other highlights from our interview with Phil Spencer, including details on the Halo live action series, check out the video above.