The First Xbox Game Published By A University Launches Today
By Bob Garcia
The award-winning game Hack, Slash & Backstab is set to launch today, becoming the first Xbox game ever to be published by a university. Developed by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), the game will be available on Steam or via the virtual Humble storefront for $4.99.
Only one player can win the game of Hack, Slash & Backstab, a two-to-four player dungeon crawler that takes place in a dangerous fantasy world. As either a warrior, rogue, wizard or archer players must first work together to survive various obstacles, but must inevitably turn to betrayal and backstabbing if they wish to outlast their companions and win the game.
It is a product of a studio course offered at the university through the School of Interactive Games and Media, an internationally ranked educational program. It is produced through MAGIC Spell Studios, the commercial, for-profit arm of RIT’s MAGIC Center.
Andrew Felps, founder and director of MAGIC Center, calls this a “defining moment” for the university’s digital media program. He says for people in the industry who know what all it takes to publish a game it is unbelievable that a university could make it happen. “We are thrilled to finally get this game in the hands of players,” said Felps.
RIT, along with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and New York University, is set to receive $150,000 each year for the next three years to continue developing games. The money is part of Empire State Development, an initiative to foster innovation in the growing gaming industry at the state’s three digital gaming hubs.