Were you looking forward to Scalebound, the next game from the studio behind Bayonetta?. So were we Fandom, as we picked Scalebound as one of our 15 most anticipated games of 2017. Unfortunately, today had some dreadful news. Microsoft, the publisher of the Xbox One exclusive, announced Scalebound had been canceled.
A Tale of Headphones & Dragons
Here's Microsoft's official statement given to multiple outlets:
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.
Thia came after rumors appeared from Kotaku and Eurogamer, both alleging that Scalebound was in dire straights. They spoke of tensions between Platinum and Microsoft after the game had vanished following its most recent showing last summer.
Microsoft and Platinum had been silent after a 2016 Gamescom demo that wasn't very well received. Scalebound had been Platinum's first ever partnership with Microsoft, and the game looked to be one of the biggest Xbox One exclusives the system would see in 2017. That's all over now.
Where Does This Leave Platinum and Xbox?
For Platinum, this can't be anything but a negative. After quickly establishing itself as Japan's premiere independent studio, the developer in recent years has taken on more for-hire work. For every Bayonetta 2, there were games based on Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Scalebound represented the company's biggest release of an original IP in years, so this is quite a significant loss for the Osaka-based company. Microsoft was very murky on who owns the rights to the game, meaning Platinum might never be able to publish Scalebound elsewhere. Hopefully, Platinum has more games coming in the future past Nier: Automata or the devs will surely have cashflow problems.
Meanwhile, Xbox One and Microsoft finds themselves at a different crossroads. Scalebound was one of several Xbox One exclusives that have either been canceled or released to lower-than-expected sales. Canceling a game they'd heavily promoted indicates a change in strategy that's happening just as they plan a relaunch of sorts with Project Scorpio. What will replace this major release in the pipeline? We'll need to know soon, as Halo Wars 2 and Crackdown 3 aren't exactly going to cut it this year.