Yesterday Microsoft Studios issued a statement confirming the cancellation of one of its highly anticipated AAA exclusives. Scalebound: Platinum Games‘ new IP was initially announced at E3 2014 along with a bunch of other big projects including Crackdown 3, Halo 5: Guardians, and Sunset Overdrive.
In response to a tweet, Phil Spencer proclaimed it a “difficult decision” but one which “is better [for] Xbox gamers”.
Scalebound was an action role-playing hack-and-slash game. The protagonist (Drew) was a youthful, slightly obnoxious Barney Stinson look-a-like who shared a bond with a gigantic dragon. Considering the caliber of the studio’s past works, and the interesting gameplay ideas, Scalebound looked like a well polished, successful addition to Xbox’s 2017 release schedule. So why was the project cancelled, and how could this be a good thing?
Over the last year Sony have released and announced a number of incredible single player focused games, including: Uncharted 4, The Last Guardian, and The Last of Us 2. Microsoft released Quantum Break and Gears of War 4 to combat these, but Scalebound was their direct action-packed answer for 2017. However, Sony have also released some offensively meagre games over the years like The Order 1886 and Knack, and one can speculate that Scalebound could have been a similarly substandard game, something that Phil Spencer would never approve.
This is why Scalebound’s cancellation isn’t a bad thing: because it means the standards for AAA Xbox games are now so high that only the best will do. All the money Microsoft would have invested in Scalebound’s production is now being used to work on other exciting projects such as Crackdown 3, Halo Wars 2, and Sea of Thieves. Phil Spencer ended his tweet saying he is “confident in 17[‘s] lineup”, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t know half of what’s coming up this year!
Although this may have been a blow to some of you, know that even better games are on the way: games with less annoying protagonists we can only hope!