Scalebound is one of several titles currently in development at Platinum Games, and promises to further the studio’s legacy of stunning production values and engaging gameplay.
UPDATE: Despite our high hopes for the game, Scalebound has been cancelled, and will no longer see release
Even with the likes of Halo Wars 2, Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, and State of Decay 2 on the horizon, Scalebound remains one of the most exciting Microsoft-exclusive games set for release in 2017.
With this title, Platinum Games is diversifying its output, focusing on visual quality and the creation of robust RPG systems, alongside a vibrant open world, while not surrendering the fast-paced action that the studio has built its reputation upon. Like Bayonetta and Vanquish before it, Scalebound is shaping up as a slick, action-packed extravaganza where quick reflexes are as important as strategic thinking.
Within the world of Draconis, players will take control of Drew, a young man who, in appearance and attitude, bears a rather striking resemblance to Devil May Cry’s Dante. Although, with his stylish wireless headphones and apparent love and high-tempo electronica, Drew appears as a more contemporary hero than his silver-haired forebear.
Fighting alongside Drew, and somehow bonded to him, is the AI-controlled draconic companion, Thuban. Although players will gain the ability to fly upon and issue orders to Thuban, the dragon will not always respond, thus Scalebound promises something of the dynamic found in The Last Guardian, though the interactions between human and creature are unlikely to be quite as intricate.
Together, the pair will face off against a range of enemies, from the mundane, in the form of patrolling knights, to the spectacular, exemplified by the crab-like beast showcased in the game’s 2016 E3 trailer.
The footage that has been released so far shows Drew fighting with an array of weapons, including swords, bows, and staves, ensuring that players will be able to customise the character to suit their playstyle. This same idea extends to Thuban, who is highly customisable in both appearance and ability.
Aside from a few baseline details, little is currently known of the game’s storyline, though the developers have promised that the four-player co-op highlighted in trailers will have a narrative logic.
Scalebound has reportedly been a pet project of director Hideki Kamiya since the founding of Platinum Games back in 2006, however, early pitches for the project failed to catch the eye of publishers, leaving the concept to languish.
Instead, Kamiya and his team developed a number of titles more closely attuned to their previous credits as the creators of Capcom’s Devil May Cry series. Through a combination of fast-paced action and outlandish narratives, Bayonetta, Vanquish, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance built for Platinum Games a reputation for excellence.
Then in 2013, the concept was revisited and revised, this time gaining the approval of Microsoft as a potential flagship title for the Xbox One, and Scalebound entered active development.
The game was officially announced via a cinematic trailer at Microsoft’s 2014 E3 press conference, ahead of its gameplay debut more than a year later at Gamescom 2015. Although originally planned for release in 2016, Scalebound was pushed into 2017 less than a week into the new year, and almost complete silence has surrounded the game since then, though it remains on track for release in 2017.
Scalebound is a rare thing, an exciting new IP from one of the best studios in the business, backed by one of the biggest corporations in the industry. Not only does the game have both the expertise and budget to leave a memorable mark, its unique fusion of fluid action-based gameplay and complex RPG systems promises to be something to behold.
Its incredible potential easily earns Scalebound a place among OnlySP’s most anticipated games of 2017.