The Scalebound Cancellation Bandwagon

It’s cool to hate.

This console generation has been divisive like many before it, but instead of Sega vs Nintendo, we’ve been treated to the PlayStation vs Xbox drama. Granted, I’m probably not what many would consider objective on the matter. I tend to favor underdogs, and I’ve made no attempt to hide the fact that I prefer Xbox anyway. I have my reasons for that, but they aren’t relevant to this discussion.

In case you’ve been living under a rock these past couple days, you’ve likely missed the news that Platinum Games’ Scalebound, an action game featuring epic four player co-op dragon fights, received the development axe. Very little detail on the matter has come to light regarding why it was cancelled, but that hasn’t stopped people from jumping to conclusions.

What few tidbits of information that has come to light hasn’t portrayed Microsoft in the greatest light, for sure. However, Microsoft and Platinum Games seemed to have been butting heads for a long time over the direction that Scalebound would take. Marketing for the game showed a title that focused heavily on the action elements, where the private showings of it to the press by the developers showed a deeper RPG-style experience.

With Microsoft footing the bill for Scalebound, they had a pretty big say in what they wanted out of it, and that might’ve been where the issues cropped up. However, there seems to be more to the equation than a money-grubbing publisher crapping all over a developer’s dreams.

Trouble On The Homefront

“As we’re looking at the lineup for this year, and where [developer Platinum Games] are [with Scalebound]–what their aspirations are; that game is super-aspirational…we want to be able to give them enough time and resources to do that,” Greenberg said. –GameSpot

In early 2016, Scalebound encountered its last delay, and both Microsoft and Platinum Games expressed hope for the project to meet the expectations they both had for it. Hideki Kamiya’s dream game would be releasing in 2017, and all was good in the world.

Fast forward to today, and the story making the rounds is that development had been troubled for some time. It’s clear that Platinum Games had a big vision for Scalebound, but setbacks created the prime environment for falling behind. Word is that some of the staff went on vacation during the project, only to come back to deadlines creeping up. Those deadlines for progress inevitably passed and the issues became far more serious. With this in mind, it would’ve become obvious to both Microsoft and Platinum Games that an early 2017 release wouldn’t be possible.

By the sound of things, it appears that Platinum Games might have bit off a little more than they could chew. Their development already troubled by large workloads, further compounded by having staff take off time to recover. Now I’m by no means arguing that they should’ve ignored their needs; I believe that was the right thing to do in that case. However, there’s a point in any endeavor where people need to be realistic about goals. It appears that the powers that be knew this and decided that despite wanting to finish Scalebound, it was just no longer feasible.

Unfortunately, the reality of the gaming industry is that deadlines exist and goals need to be met. Scalebound met its untimely fate.

Tom Smykowski Would Be Proud Of The Internet

jump_to_conclusions_mat
Image Credit: birdseyeviewbaltimore.com

It’s easy to jump to conclusions about things before we have all of the facts. Hell, I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else. The thing is though, that nobody has the full picture yet about what happened with Scalebound, and it bothers me a little – probably more than a little since I wrote an entire post about it – that the instant assumption regarding Scalebound’s cancellation is that it’s entirely Microsoft’s fault.

The idea that Microsoft decided to axe Scalebound out of spite or ignorance doesn’t sit well with me because the only evidence available doesn’t add up to support it. Sure, Microsoft could’ve continued funding development in the interest of finishing the project, but to what end? After spending several years trying to attain a publisher for the idea, then spending over four years developing it, further delays could easily push Scalebound into the infamous development hell.

Both Microsoft and Platinum Games would benefit greatly from greater transparency on the issue, if only to clear up the mess created in the barrage of speculation. As it is right now, it seems that the gaming community is far more eager to assign blame to Microsoft for something that very well may have been out of their control. If it comes to light that the entirety of the events that led to Scalebound‘s failure as a project was Microsoft’s fault, I will be more than willing to lay the blame at their feet.

Until then, I’d say it’s best to give both Platinum Games and Microsoft the benefit of the doubt, and it’s probably a good idea if the rest of the gaming community cools down and does the same.

Header Image Credit: VG247 

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11 thoughts on “The Scalebound Cancellation Bandwagon

  1. I never really took interest to this game. It looked really boring to me personally, and that main protagonist was very odd looking with his red beats headphones.

    But anyways, I wish Platinum Games all the best and I hope they can get something going again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s too bad. I don’t have an Xbox but this looked like a really neat game. I guess you could tell it was in trouble when Microsoft and Platinum Games were beginning to highlight very different aspects of it…

    And… hype. Hype everywhere. I realize this is more hate than hype, but I’m blown away by some of the dramatics (in regards to reactions to gaming news) we’ve been seeing in the gaming world recently. I just want to wave my arms and say, “Everybody, take a breath!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess hype and hate are two sides of the same coin to be honest. I never thought about it that way until you mentioned this. I’m working on a piece about hype, so I may need to consider incorporating that now!

      That said, I find it particularly interesting that for as much hate as Microsoft is getting for the cancellation of Scalebound, there sure was a ton of dismissal from the gaming community at large when it was still in production. Kinda a damned if you do, damned if you don’t thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely. Not to completely open an unrelated can of worms, but I’m getting the feeling that people are just… angry and unsettled… right now, so any excuse they have to express that comes out. Sigh.

        Yeah I’ve been thinking about hype a lot as well. It certainly seems to be causing a lot of problems recently!! It’s like we have lost the ability to hold developers or games (and other things) to realistic standards, and then lose our collective minds when our fantasies aren’t fulfilled.

        (Strangely enough, I have a post planned for next week but I can hold off posting if you want).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Assigning hate to either company at this point is misguided at best and childish at worst. Microsoft could’ve imposed crappy restrictions like the need for multiplayer onto Platinum, putting stress on the studio. But Platinum could’ve gotten too ambitious and careless with their budget, forcing Microsoft to give Scalebound the axe. This isn’t a Kojima and Konami situation where the bad guy is clear, so we might as well wait for more information to come out.

    Liked by 1 person

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