When it was announced Project Spark was supposed to be Microsoft's answer to Sony's ever popular LittleBigPlanet series. Yet it seems the spark never caught on, as Microsoft has announced that it is ending Project Spark and refunding people who bought the game.
Developed by Skybox Labs and Team Dakota, Project Spark was announced during Microsoft's rather disastrous E3 2013 conference and was coming to both PC and Xbox One. Launching on October 7th, 2014, the game was generally well received. Most reviewers found the creation tools to be well made and suited for a surprising amount of depth. Project Spark was originally a free-to-play game, but you could buy a physical copy as well which would unlock a bunch of new tools for you to play with.
Yet Project Spark never really caught on in any meaningful way. Microsoft tried to add a pair of episodic campaigns with it to spice things up. The first campaign, Champions Quest, had its first episode come with the game as the example of what you could build with the game. Yet Champions Quest was considered not very interesting and future episode were cancelled. The second attempt came in 2015 with Conker's Big Reunion. This episodic campaign was intended to be a sequel to the ever popular Conker's Bad Fur Day. Yet, similar to Champions Quest, the reaction to Conker's Big Reunion was a general meh and it was also canceled after a single episode.
The first signs that Project Spark was going down the drain came in September 2015 when Microsoft announced that they were canceling all future DLC plans and updates to Project Spark and making the game completely free to play. It seems the final nail is in the coffin now, as Project Spark is being officially shut down. The game will no longer be available to add to your account, and only downloadable through the download history for the moment, though that might change. If you have the game, you have about three more months to play it online until the servers shut down on August 12th. You'll be able to keep anything you have downloaded from the game and continue to play it offline after the servers shut down, but you will no longer be able to download new creations or upload your own creations. Team Dakota says that there will be no layoffs at their studio, but the majority of the team has moved on to work on other games and they just didn't have the ability to continue maintaining Project Spark's server and keep fixing bugs.
While refunds were made available when the game went free to play back in September, Team Dakota did note that some people had purchased retail copies of Project Spark even after the game was free. Those people will be getting refunds as well now, just to make sure everyone is covered.
How do you feel about this? Sad to see Project Spark go? Not that surprised? Let us know in the comments!