Last one out, turn off the lights.
If you spend a lot of time on the Xbox Live Indie Games channel, you may know that the main set of tools that developers use to create the XBLIG’s you love is a Microsoft product called XNA. Recently, an internal e-mail from Microsoft leaked out stating that they would be ending development on the XNA platform on April 1st, 2014.
In a statement to Polygon, a representative from Microsoft clarified by saying “XNA Game Studio remains a supported toolset for developing games for Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone. Many developers have found financial success creating Xbox Live Indie Games using XNA. However, there are no plans for future versions of the XNA product.”
Though this doesn’t mean an immediate end to the Xbox Live Indie Games service it does signal the end of an era, and provides even more evidence that we are at the end of the current console generation. We also aren’t likely to see many new developers coming onto the scene, as people usually don’t want to learn dying technologies. In light of these developments, we wanted to shine our Xbox Live Indie Games Spotlight on the XNA Game Studio platform itself.
While they weren’t always smash-hits, we have a lot of love for some of the gems we’ve found on the XBLIG channel over the years. Using the hash-tag #BecauseOfXNA, a few of our favorite Indie devs tweeted their sentiments:
Barkers Crest, developer of Avatar Legends (among others):
#becauseofxna I was able to move my family half way across the country so my child could be closer to her grandparents.
— BarkersCrestStudio (@BarkersCrest) February 1, 2013
Robert Boyd, one half of Zeboyd Games, makers of Cthulu Saves The World, and Penny Arcade: On The Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness 3:
#becauseofXNA I was able to start a new career that I love.
— Robert Boyd (@werezompire) January 31, 2013
And James Petruzzi of Discord Games, makers of Take Arms says:
I’ve accomplished everything so far #becauseofXNA. I love it, and am proud to be making Chasm with it.
— James Petruzzi (@DiscordGames) January 31, 2013
These are only a small portion of the touching sentiments you can find from all of the people that have used the XNA platform over the years. We’re also reminded that XNA isn’t just used for XBLIG titles, hit XBLA platformer FEZ was also created using the platform along with one of my favorite XBLA games of all time, Dust: An Elysian Tail. Recent XBLA strategy title, Skulls of the Shogun, also used XNA to hit three platforms at once and offer cross-play functionality between every version.
Whether you knew it or not, XNA was probably the driving force behind one of your favorite games and we hope that whatever replaces it in the next generation inspires the kind of passion that XNA did in this one.