GC2015 Preview: Scalebound

Platinum Games has been universally known to be an excellent developer when it comes to creating hectic hack and slash games that drive adrenaline as players go through them. Titles such as Metal Gear Rising and Bayonetta have kept numerous players hooked for quite a while, and whilst what we saw today of Scalebound had the same amount of polish and adrenaline, there are things that really set Scalebound apart from its relatives at Platinum.

Firstly we’ll start off by providing some background info on the game. Scalebound is the story of Drew, a young man from the normal world who is transported into a fantasy realm, in which he meets the dragon Tuban (my apolagies if I mistyped that name.) Drew and Tuban grow connected as a mysterious force called the Pulse bonds them together and creates a binding connection between the man and this huge beast.SB1Bonding is a huge part of the dynamic of Scalebound, and this transcends from the main story to the gameplay, which has Drew and Tuban work together to destroy foes both big and small. Drew is the classic hack and slash aspect of Platinum that we’ve come to know and love, but his dragon is what brings a whole other dimension to what establishes what Scalebound really is. Tuban will fight alongside Drew, and will even listen to his commands as Drew may tell him to destroy objects, fight enemies or weaken them for him to finish them off. But working together is key, and if Tuban becomes too aggressive in combat his effectiveness may weaken, and letting him finish off smaller foes diminishes the amount of reward that Drew will get for their victory. Pulse energy is gained from enemies as Drew slays them, which allow him to perform special attacks and/or overcharge himself for a limited amount of time to deliver and take more damage.

Here’s where Scalebound takes a really different turn than Platinum’s traditional titles, which is the fact that the game has a whole other genre on the other side of its two-sided face: an RPG. Scalebound isn’t just about slaying enemies, but gaining experience and evolving characters in the process. Drew is able to wield different kinds of weapons, items and such, but his dragon is where the really heavy stuff comes in. From evolving his physique to actually providing him with armor (which is done with in-game currency, as one of Microsoft’s agents rushed to inform us about), Tuban may actually be what is a bigger headlining character than even Drew himself.SB2The footage we saw was slightly extended version of Microsoft’s original demo on the show floor, though the developers gave us a slightly deeper look as we delved a little deeper into certain areas and explained to us what the dynamics and inner workings of Scalebound truly meant to them as a studio. Scalebound is based around the concepts of pure fantasy, from the lush green landscapes to the flying mountains in the sky.

The fantastical setting of Scalebound isn’t alone though, as Drew’s dynamic with the world is as engaging as the rest of it, which gained a pretty hilarious response from the dev team. As I only uttered the words “The Prodigy” in one of my questions regarding the soundtrack, producer Hideki Kamiya (who knew exactly what I meant at this point, even with our language barrier) and one of the developers informed us about the immense importance of Drew’s culture in contrast to the world of Scalebound, which shows an incredible battle of dynamics that don’t clash, but strengthen each other in a way that provides an amazing experience.SB3We weren’t really told anything about co-op, but this presentation showed me what kind of a monster title Scalebound really is turning out to be, which is even expanding Platinum’s horizons when it comes to their handled genres.

Scalebound is currently scheduled for a 2016 release only on Xbox One.