Hey there reader, let me ask you something? Have you ever wanted to battle giant monsters with a big sword, while also being besties with a dragon and having him fireball the entire battlefield? That sounds pretty awesome, right!? Well, keep dreaming we ain’t gonna get that anytime soon.Microsoft has officially canceled Scalebound, a highly anticipated Xbox and Windows 10 game by Platinum Games.
The game was being developed by Platinum Games and Hideki Kamiya, an industry vet who has worked on titles such as Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and Bayonetta. However, despite being highly anticipated by fans and critics alike, Microsoft have decided to cancel the project.
First announced at E3 2014, the game was billed as an action-RPG wherein the player controlled both the protagonist and his dragon companion. Players would battle enemies whilst issuing orders to the dragon and apparently have the ability to shapeshift into some sort of scale armor. The cancellation comes as a shock given the somewhat progressed state of the above pre-alpha demo from 2015. Based on the above, it seems a lot of work was already poured into the project, with full cutscenes, voice acting, world creation and battle mechanics fleshed out. However, looking at their following trailer from E3 2016 below, the problems with development seem more apparent.
Honestly, looking at both trailers almost make it look like 2 different games in my opinion. In a single year, we went from a game where you adventure with a sword and a dragon to a game where you fight with swords, dragons, bows, some sort of magic missile, shapeshifting and 4 other people. From my own admittedly amateur perspective, it would seem the original vision for the game became quite muddled. Far from a simple concept, the addition of all the other weapons and co-op make everything seem more complicated and less focused. Perhaps if we had a choice of protagonist, each with their own weapons (which was entirely possible due to the lance-wielding character in the 2016 trailer) and you could separate the melee from the ranged combatants it would make more sense.
Of course, this is just a theory, but it’s a theory that’s somewhat supported by reports surrounding the game’s cancellation. Reportedly tensions rose between Platinum Games and their publisher, Microsoft. According to the development team, last Autumn some key members of the senior development team were forced to take time off due to the stress of development. This put development of the game behind schedule. Due to this and certain problems with the game’s engine, it was deemed too difficult to continue development.
It’s a sad story, but certainly not one unheard of in the games industry. Publishers tend to put tight schedules on games, sometimes shortening development cycles. Usually, this leads to unpolished games, but occasionally cases such as this crop up. I think all gamers remember the debacle that was Hideo Kojima‘s departure from Konami. It led to the cancellation of Silent Hills, a game that had every horror fan wetting their pants in excitement. I just hope we don’t lose too many more Silent Hills before publishers start to loosen the restrictions and time frames put on developers.
Nothing is known about the who now owns the rights to the Scalebound IP. Reports have surfaced saying that Microsoft “do not comment on the details of our business agreements with partners,” which could honestly be anyones guess. If the IP belongs to Platinum Games, it is entirely possible we could still see Scalebound come out in a different format from a different publisher. However, details like those are not for us to know. Here’s hoping that someday soon we’ll be hopping around in some sort of Dark Souls meets How To Train Your Dragon RPG. Until then, we’ll just have to make do with the 2017 line-up as is, hopefully without more cancellations.