9th January 2017. Microsoft Studios confirmed that “after careful deliberation,” it had “come to the decision to end production for Scalebound.” It was yet another high-profile Xbox One exclusive that, along with Fable Legends, Microsoft had chosen to pull the plug on. The natural reaction was one of widespread disappointment.
None more so than creator Hideki Kamiya, who, at long last, had the chance to express the love that he once had for fantasy games in high school. After the early excitement that the project was met with when it was revealed on-stage at E3 2014, Scalebound’s abrupt end had left fans with more questions than answers. However, we can be thankful that making Kamiya’s dream a reality is far from over.
I have confidence in my sources to report that it is my understanding that Scalebound has been resurrected as a project to be released as a Nintendo Switch exclusive. Given Microsoft’s previous involvement, it remains unclear to me whether development has been completely rebooted from scratch or, at the least, its ambition scaled back – seeing as it’s now destined for the nimble, but less powerful, portable home console.
Further to this, I believe that Scalebound is likely to be the “game that’s thought to be dead that Nintendo’s reviving” that Game Informer senior editor Imran Khan had hinted at on Kinda Funny Games last week. Although, there’s the chance that he could have heard about a different project that will be resuscitated.
In the original concept for Scalebound, you were to play as Drew, who, while exploring the dangerous world of Draconis, is bonded to the fearsome and noble dragon, Thuban – the last of his kind. Thrown together by fate, they must defeat the enemies that threaten their world.
As far as I am aware, the Scalebound trademark was renewed but soon had to be abandoned thanks to Microsoft being unable to state what they would use it for. Ultimately, that has left the door open for another publisher to step in and, as part of on-going discussions around the projects that PlatinumGames could work on for Nintendo Switch, it was something that Nintendo expressed interest in.
Without a doubt, Nintendo and PlatinumGames have continued to build a close relationship with one another. On Wii U, the developer supported the ill-fated console with The Wonderful 101, Star Fox Zero, and Bayonetta 2 – a sequel that the developer has expressed would not have existed without Nintendo’s support.
That camaraderie has since continued on Nintendo Switch, that, along with Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 ports, has resulted in PlatinumGames once again being given the chance to work on Bayonetta 3 and Astral Chain as exclusives for the console.
With Hideki Kamiya supervising Astral Chain and his role on Bayonetta 3 unclear, it would appear that, keen to right the development struggles that the original project had suffered, his main focus has been on grounding Scalebound for its return. And, like many, we look forward to seeing it in action.