Scalebound has been scaled down as PlatinumGames and Microsoft Studios part ways. The Xbox One exclusive, pegged for a nebulous “2017” release, has been unceremoniously canceled on January 9. Xbox head Phil Spencer delivered an official statement on the decision, stating the team is “working hard to deliver an amazing lineup of games.”
After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for “Scalebound.” We’re working hard to deliver an amazing lineup of games to our fans this year, including “Halo Wars 2,” “Crackdown 3,” “State of Decay 2,” “Sea of Thieves” and other great experiences.
This news comes after the troubled development the project had. Microsoft first revealed Scalebound at E3 2014, scheduling the project for a “Holiday 2016” release. Information on Scalebound went radio silent after this initial reveal and the game missed E3 2015, but it made a reappearance just a couple months later at Gamescom alongside Crackdown 3 and Quantum Break. It was around this time the title was delayed from “Holiday 2016” to the vague “2017” release window. Following this, Scalebound made another appearance a Gamescom 2016, but, once more, updates on the development of the game went dark.
It wasn’t until Kotaku‘s Jason Schreier reported that rumors were circulating of the project’s cancellation that we received substantive information on the status of the game. Unfortunately, Scalebound has been out-scaled.
This information hurts both Microsoft and PlatinumGames.
Data on PlatinumGames’ sales figures are sparse, but, back in 2013, Polygon interviewed the studio president Tatsuya Minami. During the interview, Minami stated he’s pleased with the studio’s games, but not so pleased with the studio’s sales, claiming “I think I’d probably rate it as a C or even a D.”
Scalebound‘s development was tumultuous as well. According to Eurogamer sources, multiple members of the team were forced to take a month break to recuperate from the stress and pressure of the heavy and demanding workload. Once these members returned, however, Scalebound was behind schedule, which wrought continuous issues surrounding the game’s engine and overdue deadlines, causing the project to cease after four grueling years of development hell.
Interestingly, though, the word choice is compelling. “Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for Scalebound.” As it stood, Scalebound was a Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive. Call it wishful thinking, but, with the way Microsoft delivered the official statement, it sounds as if PlatinumGames could revive the project at a later date. Furthermore, all Scalebound YouTube videos from Microsoft/Xbox’s official channel have been deleted, indicating the company may not want this game associated with its brand.
PlatinumGames makes some good action-platformer titles, and even though they’ve slipped in recent years — especially with the atrocities that were Star Fox Zero and TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan — the studio knows how to make action games and knows how to make them well. With Nier: Automata inching ever closer, it may be Platinum’s final chance to showcase the skills that made them such a prominent action-platformer developer.