Throughout the course of its 9 years of existence, the ID@Xbox program has achieved some pretty incredible feats, working with hundreds of independent developers all across the globe to create over 3,000 games. Through the program’s efforts, indie developers have earned an accumulated two and a half billion dollars. No doubt these numbers far exceed what the founders of ID@Xbox dared dream when first launching the program back in 2013.
Today we thought it would be fun to look at 9 games made through a collaboration with ID@Xbox to celebrate its nine years in operation.
This tough as nails run and gun side-scrolling shooter was a breath of fresh air when it released back in 2017, with its then-original, “Old Disney” style visuals. Its gameplay is challenging yet fun as all get out, especially when you get a friend to tag along in the role of Cuphead’s brother, Mugman.
The game even got its own Netflix series in February, The Cuphead Show!
This free-to-play online game currently has well over 100 million active users. Widely seen as a Minecraft competitor, it features a game creation system that allows users to program games and play games created by others. There is also a VR version of Roblox for Oculus Rift. The game has a large and dedicated community.
Though it released long before the advent of ID@Xbox, many games made through Roblox Studio have been made with collaborative efforts with the program.
This graphically minimalist first-person shooter employs a unique mechanic whereby time only flows normally when the player is in motion. This means that by simply staying put, the player can take stock of his situation in slow motion. It’s an original feature that lends the game a strategy-game-like element. Superhot is surely one of the more original games to come out in recent years.
This open-world survival action-adventure game is set in an underwater alien world. It offers players first-person exploration of this unique setting in the role of a lone survivor of a spaceship crash. Players must gather resources and survive the many dangers of the ocean, all while working their way through the plot and unraveling the mysteries of Planet 4546B.
This smash-hit title has been described as a little bit metroidvania, a little bit roguelike, and a little bit soulslike, all rolled into one package. Perhaps the term “roguevania” describes it best. No matter how you choose to describe it, Dead Cells makes for one compelling side-scrolling action-adventure. The game employs a minimalistic story, and has players controlling a headless corpse being controlled by a ghost-like entity.
Undertale is a game created by a single developer, Toby Fox (with art and character designs by Temmie Chang), that hearkens back to the glory days of jrpgs, yet brings something new with shooter mechanics as well as writing and an overall aesthetic that feels totally fresh. Perhaps the game’s biggest inspiration is the cult-classic jrpg Earthbound, which is also known for bringing unconventional to the genre, though Undertale draws influence from many other sources as well, such as the Mario & Luigi rpgs.
This belt-scrolling beat ‘em up picks up right where its classic forebears left off and then some. Streets of Rage 4 can rightly be said to be a love-letter to not only the series but the genre at large. It features gorgeous visuals and classic beat ‘em up gameplay that, despite not reinventing the wheel, manage to breathe new life into this beloved franchise. There’s a reason people still want to play games like this, and it isn’t nostalgia alone.
Roguelike dungeon crawler Hades is a highly acclaimed 2020 release that currently enjoys a 93 rating on Metacritic. It has also won numerous awards, including becoming the first video game ever to win a prestigious Nebula Award (for best game writing).
Almost universally praised for its compelling gameplay as well as its story, soundtrack, and art, Hades has the player assuming the role of Zagreus as he endeavors to escape from the Underworld, and draws heavily from the mythology of ancient Greece.
While all three of the Bloodstained titles released so far have to some degree been made in partnership with ID@Xbox, it is the franchises flagship title, Ritual of the Night, that we highlight here.
A quintessential metroidvania, RotN is in many ways the closest thing we might ever see to a sequel to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The crowdfunded title was created by former Castlevania maven Koji Igarashi, and it is considered the spiritual successor to that franchise.
ID@Xbox and the indie games scene
And that is just a small sampling of the 3,000 plus indie games that have been brought into existence through partnership with ID@Xbox. It makes you ponder what might have been if the program weren’t around, and how much poorer gaming would have been over the last nine years if these gaming experiences had not been made for us to enjoy.