Killer Instinct Mobile Game May Have Been Canceled Because of Microsoft’s McLaren

Several months ago a few leaked few Windows Store games were spotted on NeoGAF and quickly taken down.

The internet sleuths quickly turned their attention to the Windows Store where gamers were able to gather a list of games that at the time had not been released. Among the leaked games were Young Conker, Fragments and TJ Combo Boxing. The first two mentioned titles would later be revealed as HoloLens games but many of the titles in the list were not acknowledged until now.

For those unfamiliar with the name, TJ Combo is a character in Microsoft’s fighting game Killer Instinct. Currently in its third season, Killer Instinct has been an unexpected success and has had over 6 million players on the Xbox One according to Microsoft. The success on the console may have influenced the move to mobile as an Xbox executive offers some insights on what happened to the title.

Microsoft’s Creative Director for Xbox, Adam Isgreen,  officially acknowledged the existence of the game and claims that the project was canceled due to mobile tech that was never fully realized. Responding to a post I created on the Ultra-Combo forums, Isgreen states the game featured a combo system fully utilized by the now shelved technology.  Unfortunately for Killer Instinct and Windows Phone fans, the game was never completed.

TJ Combo

“It was a mobile game prototype we were working on to go hand in hand with some interesting tech being developed for our phones.”

A theory that could have caused the fallout of the mobile fighter is Microsoft’s McLaren smartphone. Rumors made rounds in the tech world detailing an ambitious project under wraps at the Microsoft campus. The cause of the commotion was a Lumia smartphone code named McLaren that would offer an innovative experience never before seen. The rumors proved to be true as Windows Central got a hold of a device and shared the 3D touch features. The tech could synergize well with how Isgreen decribes the mobile game playing “…like punch-out but with combo mechanics and KI flair.” As time went on the McLaren was lost in obscurity with many in the tech community realizing the phone would never be released. Isgreen hints at this downfall by saying “The tech didn’t end up being put into production, so the game wasn’t finished.” Whether the McLaren 3D touch features were meant to be put in all Lumia devices is up for debate but it isn’t too far of a stretch to see how both the McLaren and TJ Combo Boxing may have at once shared history.

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