Activision might be about as indie as Metallica these days, but that hasn’t stopped the goliath of a publisher from releasing Dark Reign Redux on Xbox Live Indie Games for $5. The remake of the 1997 PC RTS popped up on the Marketplace yesterday with nary a press release or hint of marketing to support it. At least Activision got that part of the indie formula correct.
The port was handled by Magnetar Games, and there is also a browser-based version available using Microsoft Silverlight. Magnetar’s website claims that “Dark Reign Redux is a faithful remake of the original game, maintaining the same look and feel, and incorporating the many innovations that made the original game a top seller.” That’s a nice way of saying that they’ve made the game look exactly like it did in 1997. But, the game does run at a higher resolution (up to 1024 x 768) and has widescreen support. If you’re wondering how a 90s RTS handles on a console, one glimpse at the controls may make your hands fear ever gripping a controller again.
We contacted Magnetar Games and Activision for more information about the project’s origin and if the publisher has any plans to revisit its vast stable of PC franchises.
Update: According to a post on the Creators Club Forums, Magnetar Games “worked out a deal with Activision to remake the game” and the game has been “QA’ed by Activision.” It sounds as if Magnetar licensed the dormant IP from Activision rather than being contracted for the project, but we’re still waiting to hear back from both parties. We’ll update when we know more. (Thanks Michael Neel).