During Microsoft’s E3 conference at Gamescom this year, the publisher announced its console would soon be able to play original Xbox games. The game Microsoft used to show off this feature was Crimson Skies, a series that’s sat untouched for 14 years.
That wouldn’t be the case if its creator, Jordan Weisman, had his way: “I’d love to do another PC flight game,” he tells us.
Find out more about what Weisman is currently working on in our BattleTech interview.
Speaking to us recently, Weisman talked about seeing his game up on screen at E3. “I got a warm heart by the reaction that got, both in the auditorium and online,” Weisman says. “It was nice to see that people still think fondly of that game and that property.”
Weisman left Microsoft in 2002, over the years setting up a number of studios. Currently, he’s the CEO of Harebrained Schemes, a studio hard at work converting BattleTech, the board game he created in the ‘80s (and the series that spawned MechWarrior) into a turn-based strategy game on PC.
Despite leaving Microsoft, Weisman is still in contact with the people he knows there. Though the Crimson Skies reveal was a surprise to him. He says he didn’t have anything to do with the backwards compatibility announcement during Microsoft’s E3 conference – “except that I’m always over there championing the IP.”
It may have been 14 years since the last Crimson Skies game, but Weisman revealed that he’s “been in discussion with [Microsoft] for a long time for Harebrained to have some ability to work with the IP. We’ve not succeeded in that yet but I remain ever hopeful.”
Weisman has two plans for the series if he could get his hands on it again and says that “in an ideal world we’d be able to do both.” He was lead designer on the original PC game and creative director of Microsoft Games when the Xbox game was made, so naturally the third person flight sim-style of Crimson Skies is close to his heart – “Our goal with the PC game was that we wanted it to feel more like a plane, I think the Xbox took that one step further and more arcade-y. I’d love to do another flight sim,” he says.
However, before it was on PC, Crimson Skies was a board game. And, like Weisman is doing with BattleTech, he can see Crimson Skies coming back as a turn-based strategy game. “I’d also love to do a step back to the strategy a little bit,” Weisman says, “where now you’ve got a fleet of planes and a zep and do more of a strategy tactical game. Where you’re a pirate doing the Zeppelin combat in a larger fashion. I’d love to do that game, too, one day.
“I may not be able to do either but we can dream.”