That even today, in the middle of 2022, Hideki Kamiya, one of the most recognizable founders and icons of Platinum Games; Y phil spencerhead honcho of the Xbox division, keep talking about scalebound, says a lot about Scalebound itself. The video game was promised as “the exclusive” of Xbox One, the one that intended to lead a catalog of exclusives scarce at that time – a mantra that those from Redmond unfairly accused, since the console had been on the market for just a few months. Announced in 2014 and canceled three years later, we review what happened to the cocktail of RPG and hack & slash that had everything to win… and ended up failing.
The glorious past of Platinum Games
Platinum Games was founded in 2006 by a golden trident: Atsushi Inaba, Hideki Kamiya and Shinji Mikamiall former employees of Clover Studios, a subsidiary of Capcom in charge of works such as God Hand, okami either Viewtiful Joe. The core around which everything pivoted was promising; his names appeared in video games like resident Evil, Resident Evil 2 either Devil May Cry, among many others. And right from the start, in its beginnings, they planned together with SEGA the launch of four video games that would be released between 2009 and 2010. The titles will surely sound familiar to you: mad world, Vanquish, Infinity Space Y Bayonettato which another one would end up joining only a year later given the warm reception of these projects, anarchy reigns.
Microsoft, attentive to the movements of the Japanese and the good reviews received by their video games -although they did not accompany sales- decided to move tab. With Xbox One on the market since November 2013 and the always long shadow that accompanies those of Redmond, that mantra that “it has no exclusives”, the company hit a punch just nine months after being put up for sale when, in the E3 2014revealed Scalebound to the public.
Scalebound was going to be a Wii game
But before this deal there was travel. The video game was conceived, in its genesis, by Platinum herself. First, they wanted it to be a wii game: With the Wii Mote, orders would be given to the dragon for the multiple situations that could arise, urging it to attack, defend, move, etc. Second, it was going to be played by a girl; the success of Bayonetta prompted the conception of another female protagonist, but Kamiya ended up feeling weak and gave life to drewthe game character who was fiercely likened to Nero from the devil may cry saga.
Xbox liked the project and made it their own. The premise captivated all gamers, whether they owned an Xbox One or not. Drew and the dragon carried out fierce battles against human enemies or against great creatures. The protagonist used his sword in a very hack and slash combat style typical of Platinum and there were also more rollers such as equipment creation. Also, I would bear multiplayer. Mythical is already the gameplay where Drew and three other companions fight against a gigantic monster on the back of his dragons.
The cancellation of Scalebound
As time passed, the news became scarce or pointed to a diffuse horizon. Yes, we saw it in action at Gamescom 2015 -not at E3-; Yes, Kamiya and Phil, Phil and Kamiya, the junk was thrown publicly. Yes, everything seemed to be going from strength to strength… until the delay to 2017 mutated into the definitive cancellation of the project.
The secrecy on both sides was immaculate. Nobody said anything, nobody gave any reason or gave any reason for the events. With the waters already warm, Platinum Games assured to feel “deeply disappointed with the decision”; one that, in the words of Phil Spencer, “was the best for Xbox gamers”. How could everything get cold so fast?
Years later, in 2021, some light was shed on the subject. Kamiya himself, in a talk for the YouTube channel Cutscenes, said that the expectations created were too great and he ended up apologizing to the fans: “We work in an environment that we were not used to. We used the Unreal engine and were unaware of the principles of how to make a game with online features […] I apologize to those who were looking forward to playing it and to Microsoft, who placed their trust as a business partner.”
Is there hope for Scalebound?
It is an open secret that the Japanese, or Kamiya, rather, are eager to see the game in motion again. The creative has been crystal clear on multiple occasions: he has said that he would like to see it finished, and has directly questioned Phil Spencer to take up the idea: “Phil! Let’s do it together!”, said a few months ago in Golden News Japan. There was also Atsushi Inaba, who was more cautious –but just as sincere-: “Both Kamiya and I want to do it. We would like to have a proper discussion with Microsoft“. It is clear that we want, Platinum wants… And we believe that Microsoft would be very good within the Game Pass.