All hail Microsoft Studios corporate vice-president Phil Spencer, dream-maker. And dream-breaker, if all the hints he's dropped about possible Xbox reboots amount to nothing.
It's been a busy few days for the Spencer Twitter feed, AKA the Rainbow of Hope and Wistfulness. For starters, Spencer has added a new profile shot - a picture of the classic Xbox game Phantom Dust, created by Yukio Futatsugi, the man behind Xbox One game Crimson Dragon. "Changing the profile pic again, Phantom Dust this time," he disarmingly Tweeted. "Love the nostalgia of the old franchises."
Predictably, this caused a fair bit of hysteria, prompting Spencer to add "that's not how we'll announce games". A Phantom Dust reboot for Xbox One isn't impossible, however. "I do listen to the XB Community, hopefully 2014 will show some of that." One respondent sneeringly suggested that the game would take the form of a free-to-play microtransaction-driven affair. "Cynicism at it's best," Spencer commented.
Microsoft has already broached the idea of a new Phantom Dust to Futatsugi. "I've been a big fan of our partnerships in Japan," Spencer observed in November. "Futatsugi just finished Crimson Dragon, and I'm proud of what he was able to do. We're talking to him about what we might want to do next with him.
"There's some interest out there in some older [intellectual property]. Phantom Dust has come up around whether we would want to reboot that franchise. It's a discussion right now; there's nothing signed. But we're talking. It does seem like there's a lot of interest around that. And we have a good long relationship with him and I think that would be good."
Less tangibly, Spencer has also Tweeted about his enthusiasm for console real-time strategy games. "I'm a fan of console RTS StarCraft64 (go @RealKLobb)," he wrote. "Halo Wars... Control works, [has] been proven. Smartglass could help as well." Somebody's been reading our list of ways SmartGlass could "rock the world of videogames", haven't they, Spencer?
There was a very brief aside about Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy's bizarre but rather successful dalliance with the world of Disney. Somebody's started a Change.org petition to bring Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix and 2.5 Remix to Xbox 360. Spencer has signed it. "Obviously Square's to decide but I agree bringing them to XBOX would be great." In case you'd forgotten, Kingdom Hearts 3 will release on Xbox One in 2015.
Last but not least, Spencer reassured his followers that "having great internal studios is absolutely part of the plan, it's critical to long term success". He noted that Uncharted developer "[Naughty Dog] is a special studio with an amazing track record," adding that "I believe they are unique in our industry". However: "Great studios have unique culture. Creating a studio to be 'like' another isn't a goal for us."
Here are our most promising Xbox One games of 2014. Always room for a few more, Phil. Microsoft is expected to announce an exclusive partnership with a Japanese developer at some point this year.