A long lost Xbox exclusive has been discovered

Footage and details about Knights of Decayden have been discovered, a long-gone exclusive, originally set for the original Xbox from the developers behind Star Wars: X-Wing.

The existence of Totally Games ‘Knights of Decayden has gone mostly under the radar so far, but details of its development have been told to Axios’ Stephen Totilo by Totally Games founder Larry Holland and Xbox boss Phil Spencer.

You can check it out footage of the Knights of Decayden by clicking here.

The game was called many names during its development, including Knights of Utu, when it was first launched in 2000 to Sony as a PlayStation 2 game. When it was to advance on the Xbox, it was called Archipelago before it became the Knights of Decayden.

Like Totally Games’ Star Wars: X-Wing, the Knights of Decayden were focused on flying fights, but it seemed to swap “X-Wings for flying beasts.” It took place in an original fantasy world, and “players steered a knight on a flying seahorse and engaged in distance battles against other knights and monsters, lance-based slow motion diving and diving underwater to fight sea creatures.”

Knights of Decayden would have had both a single-player story mode and multiplayer, and the original pitch for Sony would have the leaders “imagining competing high in the air among skyscraper-like islands hovering over a sparkling sea.”

The plan was for Knights of Decayden to launch as an exclusive Xbox within a year of the system’s launch in 2001 from an “operation called Studio X that focused on partnerships between Microsoft and external gaming teams.”

Unfortunately, it was canceled in early 2002 and was an “early loss in Microsoft’s efforts to enter the console market and create games that could compete with PlayStation, Nintendo and Sega.”

Holland called the project “incredibly ambitious and kind of foolish on an equal footing” and said the process of creating a new world along with finding the perfect air battle was a challenge too great to overcome.

Crunch was also a huge factor, and it also did not help that the team should impress Microsoft’s game managers, who reportedly did not have much “experience in trusting developers.” One of these bosses should have once managed the Excel spreadsheet program.

“I agreed to a very aggressive schedule,” Holland said, “probably more for financial reasons and to keep my organization and business from having to lay off a lot of people.”

Axios’ look at The Knights of Decayden was triggered in part by its profile on Phil Spencer, who said one of his first tasks when he joined the Xbox game team was to “cancel Larry Holland’s game.”

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