Will Microsoft bring back Project Spark?

If you think that somewhere in the archives of Microsoft there is a server or collection of servers that contain all the amazing community creations from Project Spark, and that somehow they might one day feel generous and turn them back on I think you are delusional. Those servers were re-purposed a long time ago. Project Spark is not just going to reappear and your game is not suddenly going to be able to upload everything you’ve made while the servers have been turned off. All those community levels are gone, forever.

Do I think Microsoft should relaunch Project Spark in the state they left it 3 years ago? Absolutely not, that is a terrible idea. Project Spark was horrendously bug-ridden, had a very dated and restrictive look to it even in 2014, and it did not provide the creative public with what they really wanted, which was creative freedom. The DLC model of professional designed assets was okay, but the style of those assets was not conducive to allowing players to develop their own style. There were so many gaps in the offerings, it was difficult to make modern looking games, platforming games, first person shooters – in fact even the RPG fantasy model which they catered for was under-served with no farm animals, no wizards or women in dresses.

For me, the best thing about Project Spark, and the thing they completely neglected to promote or teach successfully, was the programming language you needed to learn in order to make your gameplay. Kode, based on Kodu, a language created to help children get to grips with programming and logic, was a great introduction to programming, and is still very powerful. Those who never got to grips with it, or never even tried it, are generally dismissive of the limitations of it – but to be honest I have not really come across limitations. There are very few AAA game mechanics that I cannot recreate in Project Spark. That is powerful for a tile based kids code. If they do nothing with Project Spark, it would be a crime to leave kode as a failed experiment. I would literally kill to have kode in Dreams right now. My games would be formidable.As it is I am not able to make hardly anything with gameplay because I have to learn a whole new system.

Talking of Dreams, it is possible, if the game is successful, that Microsoft will want to have their own game creation tool on their platform. That is a big “if “though. I still think game creation on a console is a niche hobby, and there will not be enough people interested in doing it to make it a massive hit. It would need to be a massive hit on the level of Little Big Planet to make MS sit up and notice, and I honestly think that is unlikely.

So do I think a Project Spark 2 might be developed? Sorry, no, I dont. Microsoft have moved on in their aspirations. They have closed a lot of small software houses (Team Dakota does not exist), even some with big hits under their belt. I think it highly unlikely that we will get a sequel to a failed game that made no money, and cost Microsoft a ton in refunds. If you are hanging around and refusing to move on to other platforms and other games because you think you should remain faithful to your game love, then that’s admirable but not good for you. There are a lot of other opportunities for you to express yourself in the game world that are 1000 times better than the closed Project Spark with its 700 followers. I am going to try Dreams, and if that goes nowhere I might finally get on the professional programs like Unity and Unreal. Don’t wait around for a pipe dream would be my advice.

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