Before there was Halo, there was an Xbox game in development from the Star Wars: TIE Fighter devs where players jousted on flying seahorses, and it’s probably the weirdest, most fascinating Xbox exclusive that never was.
As unearthed by Axios (opens in new tab), Totally Games was originally developing the game for Sony platforms, with the premise being: “Imagine jousting high in the air amid skyscraper-like islands soaring above a sparkling sea.”
Indeed, we see in the absolutely wild surfaced footage “a world of endless oceans” with active volcanos and towering rocky islands inhabited by airborne sea life. The graphics and gameplay look primitive even for a 2001 Xbox launch title, but you can quite clearly see the player character flying around on a giant seahorse and doing battle with various enemies in caves and both above and below water.
According to the stylized captions laid over the video, you would’ve been tasked with defending your clan, discovering some sort of lost race, and becoming the champion of… something. Though, as a neat little warning at the end of the video, it seems that there was a chance you’d be swallowed alive by a giant sea monster at any given moment, which I imagine would put the kibosh on the whole jousting thing. I don’t know, man, there’s a lot going on here.
Anyway, the plan was to release the game as an Xbox exclusive at launch with both single-player and multiplayer modes, but it was ultimately scrapped by Xbox in an effort to focus on games that would better compete with Sony and Nintendo.
Looking back, Totally Games founder Larry Holland remembers the project as being “incredibly ambitious and sort of foolish in equal measures,” which are almost the exact words that come to mind watching the above footage. Regardless, I’d still give almost anything to play it for a few hours.
Jumping back to 2022, here are the best Xbox exclusives you need in your library.