Back in September 2010, Microsoft tried to convince core gamers that the then-unreleased Kinect would be good for more than family-oriented games like Kinect Sports and Dance Central. It debuted a host of games from some of Japan’s most revered game designers at the Tokyo Game Show that month. The most promising of those games was Project Draco.
Later renamed Crimson Dragon, the game was developed by Yukio Futatsugi, the creator of Panzer Dragoon. Nearly two and a half years later, the game still isn’t out but a demo of it mysteriously appeared on the Xbox Live Arcade in Japan this week. It was promptly taken offline, but not before a number of players got their hands on it.
A number of videos of the demo appeared on YouTube after Microsoft took it offline on Monday. The videos show a game that looks and sounds very much like the Panzer Dragoon games that inspired it. It is also the same demo of the game that Microsoft had on hand at the PAX East convention in March 2012.
Crimson Dragon was originally scheduled to come out in Japan this past summer but it missed that date and Microsoft failed to give an update. Speaking with Eurogamer in December, Microsoft said it was still in the works.
“Crimson Dragon on XBLA was initially slated for a June 13, 2012 release in Japan, however this release has been delayed,” said the company, “We don’t have a release date to share at this time, but we’re excited about Crimson Dragon’s progress, and we are continuing to work on it with the teams at Grounding and LandHo.”
To date, the Kinect games shown by Microsoft at Tokyo Game Show 2010 have been widely panned and were commercial failures. Grasshopper Manufacture’s Diabolical Pitch was initially shown as Codename D. It came out on XBLA in April 2012 and racked up a Metacritic score of 56. That’s a significant mark up from Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, the Capcom game that appeared at the same show and released in June 2012 to unanimous scorn. Our own Earnest Cavalli gave the game a 4 out of 10 in his review.
While Crimson Dragon still doesn’t have an official release date, Microsoft has released a mobile game related to it called Crimson Dragon: Side Story. The Windows Phone game is a 2D shooter similar to Gradius but, naturally, with dragons in it.