Announced at Microsoft‘s E3 2014 media showcase, Scalebound was to be the latest character action game from Bayonetta director Hideki Kamiya. Players were to assume the role of Drew, a sword-wielding hero able to issue commands to his dragon companion.
[UPDATE: PlatinumGames has said it would love to return to Scalebound “if given the opportunity”]
The game was described as a big challenge for Platinum Games, with the studio delving into genres it was unfamiliar with, such as role-playing games, for influence.
But following a lengthy period in development, Microsoft announced Scalebound’s cancellation in 2017.
“Both sides failed,” Inaba said, and ultimately, the game “didn’t do all of the things that we needed to do as a developer”.
“Watching fans getting angry at Microsoft over the cancellation wasn’t easy for us to watch. Because the reality is, when any game in development can’t get released it’s because both sides failed.
“I think there are areas where we could’ve done better and I’m sure there are areas that Microsoft as a publishing partner wish that they could’ve done better. Because nobody wants a game to be cancelled.”
“Watching fans getting angry at Microsoft over the cancellation wasn’t easy for us to watch. Because the reality is, when any game in development can’t get released it’s because both sides failed”
It had been suggested by some outlets this year that Scalebound could be revived as a Nintendo Switch title. However, VGC understands that there are no plans for a Switch revival and, in fact, Microsoft is the holder of the Scalebound IP.
Despite the difficult experience of having to cancel a four-year project, Inaba told VGC he feels Platinum has grown due to the “painful lessons” of Scalebound’s demise.
“At the bare minimum, it’s unique for us as a title in so much as we feel that we didn’t do all of the things that we needed to do as a developer,” he said. “There were a lot of painful lessons, but that helped us grow as a studio.
“We obviously can’t go into details about it, because there are rules of engagement as a developer. We want to make sure that the publisher who gave us a chance to make a game in the first place isn’t treated poorly.
“The truth is, we don’t like to see Microsoft take the brunt of the fan ire because game development is hard and both sides learned lessons, for sure.”
Inaba conceded that “maybe” the studio announced Scalebound too early. However, he disagreed that its cancellation fuelled Platinum’s decision to move towards self-publishing with its two new in-development game IPs.
“No, I wouldn’t say our experience with Scalebound influenced us to go towards self-publishing,” he said. “Quite frankly, the reality is that we’ve had plenty of titles cancelled in the past: that’s part and parcel of what comes with making video games.”
Inaba also confirmed that Astral Chain’s dual-character gameplay has no connection to Scalebound’s Dragon buddy mechanics.