Scalebound is a big project from Microsoft Game Studios & action game studio Platinum Games. The game is a bit different compared to Platinum’s past game, with elements of Monster Hunter, DMC and co-op action games sprinkled about. Thankfully, NeoGaf Member Zeta Oni took the time to make a massive topic on NeoGaf that details a lot of major elements of the game. Will be providing a link to the thread at the source link but some early sections of the long opening post will be below.
Scalebound is a 2017 Xbox One/Windows 10 exclusive Action-RPG made by PlatinumGames, a Japanese developer famous for its action titles like Bayonetta, Vanquish, andTransformers: Devastation.
The purpose of this thread is to primarily act as a hub of information for the title as the wait for its release lengthens, this way any people interested in or curious about the game can have a centralized location for updated news, and secondarily to clear any misinformation or answer any FAQ’s about Scalebound.
Upon the completion of Bayonetta in 2009, Hideki Kamiya began discussing a longtime dream project of his with the team at Platinum. Growing up heavily interested in the worlds of fantasy inspired RPG’s, Kamiya had always wanted to create a game where the player controlled character would fight alongside a dragon. During these early stages, the protagonist of the project was set to be a young girl, and would see the player take a more reserved role in combat. The child’s frailty would make using the dragon as a conduit to defend her from the world around her the focus of the gameplay. However, the game was simply not destined for full scale development. Platinum began crafting the prototype on PC, where all their titles begin development, where they realized the ambition and the scope of the game made releasing on the current consoles not a possibility without serious compromise, a decision Platinum did not intend to make.
“When we first started prototyping, we didn’t have a clear design. We knew we wanted a dragon and a monster fighting with each other and we just worked with that as the focus. … At last, we’d got our prototype far enough that we could fly around this island we built on a dragon. And that’s when the project was put on hold, that very day.”
While Scalebound was put on the backburner, they shifted focus and began development on what would eventually become “The Wonderful 101”. Following that titles release in 2013, Platinum had a newfound interest in working with new partners in the industry. It’s then when Atsushi Inaba, former CEO of Clover Studios and present day producer at Platinum, suggested pitching the idea to Microsoft. From their perspective, the deal was advantageous: On Microsoft’s side, they would receive a AAA product from Platinum to promote their console with, meanwhile Platinum would gain experience working with a big western publisher on a AAA project, while also getting to work on a longtime passion project.
II. The World Of
Scalebound’s setting is the world of Draconis, a fantasy-inspired world filled with giant monsters, knights, and floating islands. Speaking to the origins of the designs, Art Designer for the project Yeng-Kee Cho discussed there were originally several themes Draconis was experimented with, including both a more sci-fi inspired world as well as a steampunk approach. The decision to focus on a more fantasy setting arose from an iterative process the art team followed, as well as an interesting although minor clash in how to approach the aesthetics:
“As an artist imagining this world filled with fantastic things like swords, dragons and monsters, I have this tendency to want to make everything look as cool as I possibly can. I wanted to draw a dragon with spikes, with a design that would make you say “wow, awesome” when you see it. But coolness wasn’t what Kamiya-san was after. He wanted something closer to an actual living thing. He told me “look at some real animals. They aren’t ‘cool’. They’re wild and alive. Design me something like that”, but even after Kamiya said that I still made them look pretty cool, we fought over it quite a bit. Since then, I think i’ve come to understand the direction that Kamiya san wants to take.”
“To elaborate on one thing, we tried lots of designs for the world of scalebound, and for the dragons as well…But as we designed the world we thought “How can we balance what everyone imagines when they hear dragon, knight, or hydra, with the effects of the pulse, to create a memorable setting for Draconis? Rather than go for off the wall designs that deliberately goes against people’s expectations we want to bring the player the knights, dragons and so on that they’ve always wanted to see.”
Governing the world of Draconis is a mysterious energy known as “The Pulse”, compared by the lead art designer to Star Wars “The Force”, in that it’s a defining energy that forms the base for the entire universe. The pulse is both a literal and figurative shaper of the world of the Draconis, being responsible for some of its more exotic features like the floating masses of earth that decorate the skyline as well as bearing responsibility for the situation that finds our main character in this foreign land, although the details on why or how remain hidden.
Speaking of the protagonist of our story, players will find themselves in control of a fashionably questionable guy named Drew. While his in-game backstory remains sparse, the character of Drew was born when Platinum desired to increase the player’s sense of immersion when in the world of Draconis. Drew is from our reality, a young man thrust into a foreign and hostile world, and like many young people around Drew’s age he is reckless and hot headed, a result of the overestimation of his youth. This seems to be a theme looking to be explored in the final game, as the bonds that come with forging a friendship like the one featured in Scalebound certainly contrast to the described behaviour of our protagonist, but that’s simply conjecture for the time being. (For those curious, Drew’s VA is actor John Omohundro. The official site has an interview with what it was like to work on Scalebound here )
Partnering up with Drew will be Thuban, a majestic dragon that is the last of its kind in Draconis. Even less is known about Thuban’s backstory, so the origins of your compadre are still to be seen, but what is known is that the dynamic between these two characters is what forms the backbone of the game as they are linked together in quite a serious manner: If Thuban dies, so does Drew: