A short time ago, it was announced that the upcoming Xbox One/PC game Scalebound by Platinum Games, had been canceled after four years of development. Reactions to this news has been mixed, ranging from “I’m not surprised, the game didn’t look to be in very good shape” to ” That’s too bad, the game looked awesome.” Not all is lost however, and the cancellation of Scalebound could actually work in Platinum’s favor.
The Quality of Platinum Games Declining
Platinum Games is a talented game studio, but has not had the best track record in the past few years, having mostly focused on licensed games which didn’t seem up to par with their other titles. The Legend of Korra game was the start of Platinum’s decline in quality. After the great but Wii U exclusive Bayonetta 2, it seemed Platinum Games would finally give us a decent game based on Nickelodeon’s beloved franchise. After release, most found Korra to be a disappointment, and not the game they hoped it would be. Once it was known Platinum would make a Transformers game, many were weary due to their past endeavor. Although Transformers: Devastation was more well received than its predecessor, some of the positive reception could have been due to nostalgia rather than game quality. Transformers: Devastation seemed to be one of the best Transformers games released. As someone who has never been a fan of the Transformers franchise, I felt the game did not deserve as much praise as it was getting, and found the Legend of Korra game to be more fun and have better replay value despite it’s flaws. Platinum also made two more Wii U exclusive titles, The Wonderful 101 and Star Fox Zero, both of which were criticized for making the gamepad mandatory as a controller, but still have their fans. Divisive opinions aside, Platinum really hurt it’s image when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan was released, due to abysmal reviews and reception. Whether the decline in quality was because of executive meddling from companies like Activision and Nintendo, or because Platinum’s B team just doesn’t have the same amount of quality as their A team, it’s clear to see Platinum hasn’t been as focused on their titles as they once were.
ScaleBound Had Been Stuck In Development For Awhile
It has been reported by Eddie Makuch of GameSpot that acclaimed game designer Hideki Kamiya’s original vision for ScaleBound was quite different from the final product. Originally, it was going to be about two dinosaurs fighting each other, but Kamiya wanted to figure out how the player could get involved, rather than just watching the fight. Later on, he changed this concept from dinosaurs to dragons. As one might imagine, having only two dragons in the game may have been more interesting premise, and more similar to games like The Last Guardian, instead of the Monster Hunter like result shown at E3 2016. The original idea for this game was even pitched at the same time as Bayonetta, but was put on the shelf for some time to focus on the latter. Later on, once a prototype of the game was made, Platinum couldn’t find a publishing partner for it. Eventually, Platinum and Kamiya made a deal with Microsoft, causing ScaleBound to be an Xbox One exclusive. Initially, it looked like an interesting game, but once later versions were shown, it seemed to be in rough shape, despite having time to develop. ScaleBound was expected to be released in 2016, but instead was delayed to some time in 2017. With the last game footage shown being in rather rough shape, this seemed like it could have been a benefit, allowing Platinum to polish the game a bit more before releasing it. Little did anyone know, it was the start of the path to cancellation.
Only A Certain Type of Game Was Expected from Kamiya
Because it was a combination of Hideki Kamiya and Platinum, many expected it to be a much faster, more action oriented game due to Hideki Kamiya’s other stylish action works such as Devil May Cry and Bayonetta. Those who did seem to forget Kamiya had also worked on games that weren’t combo based, like Resident Evil 2 and Okami. ScaleBound seemed to resemble these slower titles a bit more. More people need to remember that not all game designers are only good at making one type of game. Sometimes these developers excel at more than one type of game, or are better at making a game in a different genre. Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame made games like Vanquish and God Hand, two games vastly different experiences from the horror series he’s known for. It’s better to give game developers a chance to experiment, rather than sticking them to one genre or IP.
Platinum Can Still Make A Come Back
Platinum is still working on a few games, one in particular is a collaboration with Square Enix coming out on March 7th of this year. That game is Nier: Automata. which has a free downloadable demo on the PlayStation Store available right now. If it’s any indication, it might not be Platinum at their absolute best, but shows that they’re getting back into shape. Plus, in the future Kamiya could always make a game that’s essentially ScaleBound by a different name, and have it on other consoles.
What do you think of ScaleBound’s cancellation? Is Platinum in trouble? Let me know in the comments!