Slaying Dragons is cool. A chap named George apparently killed a Dragon many years ago and was duly bestowed the honour of being the Patron Saint of England, so there is no doubt it is a serious achievement. Maybe Phil Spencer had eyes on the “Patron Saint of Xbox” moniker when he set his gaze upon Scalebound, and quashed the life that Platinum Games had given it?
Yes, the news has surfaced that the hotly anticipated (by me) Scalebound from the renowned Japanese action game specialists Platinum Games has been canned by the Xbox division. Development has ceased, funding has been terminated, and the game will never see the light of day. The Xbox doesn’t offer an overwhelming selection of Japanese-styled games, let alone high budget fare as ambitious as Scalebound. The game has featured in the previous two E3 conferences and seemed destined to… I dunno, at least come out one day. It might even have been good, but we will never know.
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. – Microsoft
We’re sorry to say that on January 9, 2017, Microsoft Studios announced the cancellation of Scalebound. We are very disappointed things ended up this way, especially since we know many of our fans were looking forward to this game as much as we were – Platinum
The statements offered by Microsoft and Platinum (above) offer no real insight, so all we can do is speculate, shed a tear, and move on.
The big concern for Xbox fans is that Scalebound isn’t an exception. The name will be etched on the Xbox memorial wall alongside Fable Legends, Phantom Dust and Project Spark. Someone has probably already pencilled in Crackdown 3 and Cuphead, just in case.
It was nigh 3 years ago that Phil Spencer took over as head of the Xbox division. The man dazzled Xbox fans and games journalists alike with his silky words and perfect answers to all the difficult questions, and was very quickly credited with righting the sinking Xbox One ship. Today people are wondering if the wool has been pulled over their eyes and in fact Phil Spencer is the harbinger of Xbox annihalation.
Personally I have never really been bedazzled by Phil’s ability to say the right things, and always maintained that we should wait and see the fruits of his labours before casting judgement. Now I don’t want to say “I told you so”….. No really, hear me out. I just want to say “slow down”. Stop jumping to conclusions and pointing accusing fingers. The jury should not have reached any conclusion just yet.
Let’s assume for the moment that Scalebound was terrible. It is a plausible theory as Platinum have never really delivered a game so ambitious, and the last E3 showing was pretty ropey. Should Phil:
a) Release it anyway and pretend to be surprised by the critical reception
b) Keep delaying the game and throwing money at Platinum until something changes
c) Cancel the game.
The answer is debatable actually, but mostly because all 3 options are bad.
Now here’s food for thought: Maybe Fable Legends was bad as well. I know the 4v1 asynchronous multiplayer concept held no appeal to me what-so-ever, and wasn’t the Fable game I wanted. What about Phantom Dust? Is anybody confident that was looking good? Phil and his team showed these games the cold embrace of death. In doing so, maybe he spared us the cold embrace of playing subpar games, and saved Microsoft around 16 boat loads of cash to invest elsewhere.
The problems with these games most likely stem from the decision to invest in them in the first place. AAA games typically take 3-4 years to develop, so realistically Phil and his team are not the ones that greenlit these projects or at the very least, Phil wasn’t in charge at the time. And that goes both ways, if Crackdown 3 heralds the dawn of super cloud powered explosion extravagansers that revolutionise gaming as we know it… That wasn’t Phil either.
Now please don’t assume I am trying to prop up Phil’s reputation or restore hope in the Xbox division. I look at the 2017 XBox/PC games line up the apathy I feel is almost suffocating. I recognise that studios like Lionhead are gone, which seems far too severe an action to me. By contrast, I appreciate the move to put Xbox games on the PC, and I am cautiously optimistic that the next crop of Xbox games (the ones that we really can attribute to the current team) will be worth the wait.
What do you think? Is Phil evil incarnate? Are Microsoft pulling out of the console business? Is the cancellation of Scalebound somehow caused by pesky Sony fanboys, or perhaps covert Russian intervention? Maybe Phil is a mere puppet with no say at all, simply a face to distract us from the illuminati? Let us know! No registration necessary.