At Team Xbox we put gamers at the center of everything we do and we are driven to build the best platform on which to create and play games. We’ve heard the feedback and passion from fans about this Xbox classic, and for this re-release on modern devices, we’ve decided to give it away for free. Yes, free. You can download Phantom Dust today on Windows 10 PC and the Xbox One family of devices (via Xbox Play Anywhere) at no cost.
Phantom Dust is such a unique game, that when it was released for the original Xbox in 2004 in Japan, it was hard to classify. We decided at the time to not release it in the United States, although it was already localized in English. A card game plus an action game with quirky Japanese style and a post-apocalyptic setting? Who’d ever heard of such a thing?
While Phantom Dust did get released in the U.S. through another publisher, it did so as a limited release to a passionate audience – an audience that was still playing it online the day we turned off the original Xbox multiplayer servers. It became a cult classic, and for over a decade, fans have found ways to continue to play the game on modified original Xbox’s, or via special LAN tunneling programs on the Xbox 360’s back-compatible version.
Why? What was so special about this game that it garnered such a following? Why do the fans that played the original remain as dedicated and passionate about it today as they did years ago? Just what was so special about it?
It’s easy to say a game is unique, and that terminology is thrown about quite a bit these days, but in the case of Phantom Dust, it was and still is true. It is wholly unique, and you will not find another game like it.
While the rest of the gaming world has caught up with the idea of using cards and deck building in different genres, it remains a unique proposition in Phantom Dust – an action-combat game for up to four combatants set in highly destructible arenas in which you choose from over 300 skills to build your arsenal of attacks, defenses, and special abilities. Draw odds and deck-building strategies collide with action combat, resulting in battles in which both wits and reflexes matter.
For solo players, it has a 15+ hour campaign that takes you through a story of loss, isolation, and belief, set in a world ravaged by a strange etheric dust. On the multiplayer side, it features up to four-player games with a host of options and incredible team combat dynamics. It features collectible card game mechanics, in which you earn skills and credits through play and visit the in-game shop to buy skills in random packs or pick specific ones from the incredible diversity of over 300 skills the game offers. There’s a skill for anything you could possibly think of, allowing the creation of generalist combat decks to specific ones that require unique play strategies, great timing, combinatorial teamwork, or good draws to completely obliterate opponents in moments. Its excellent balance and the very nature of the game (and 13 years of play) has never resulted in a “perfect” deck being created.
We didn’t give Phantom Dust a chance to really find its audience when it was first released, and while visually it remains a product of the era it was created in, its gameplay is still just as compelling and unique today as it was then. We invite everyone to see that for themselves, and whether you’re an experienced Esper (humans who can manipulate the phantom dust element that the game is named after) or a totally new player (which most will be!), we encourage you to download the game, jump into multiplayer with some friends (with cross-device play, you can play against friends regardless of platform), and discover why this game is truly unique.
Get to it, Espers! We’ll see you on the surface.