The things you see when reading google news:
There has been a rash of game cancelings, at least in publishing terms. This, Psychonauts, and at least one or two others. Any reason? Did Microsoft, in a bid to get cool new content, sign deals with inexperienced groups who couldn’t deliver?
Microsoft has always had a mindset of “rush to market, fix it later.” It seems pretty clear that Ed Fries didn’t agree completely with that mentality, and instead argued for fewer games with longer dev times by creative people. And when the Rare deal didn’t payoff in the short term, it isn’t surprising that his discretion was reined in, he got discouraged and left.
It also seems clear to me that Shane Kim is much more of a business guy than a games guy like Ed. So in the rush to market with Xbox 2, Double Fine and Oddworld get cut loose, the underperforming sports teams get canned for a year (to buy VC?), Mythic gets cut, internal teams get trimmed and a lot of other decisions are made with fall of '05 in mind.
So True Fantasy Online getting cut after yet another delay seems to fit in with MS’s current strategy. I’m guessing Level 5 would eventually deliver, but Microsoft has lost Japan, and the focus needs to be on Next Gen.
Dammit. Well, I won’t be getting XBox Live anytime soon, (read: ever), then.