Scalebound is an upcoming Action RPG developed by Platinum Games, and published by Microsoft for exclusive release on Xbox One late 2016. At the helm is creative director Hideki Kamiya whose past titles such as Bayonetta, Okami, Devil May Cry, and Resident Evil have earned him a reputation for creating very stylized and energetic games. However Kamiya has stated that the focus on this title will not be on action and instead will be on the bond between player and dragon, and graphical detail.
In a departure from Kamiya’s past games, Scalebound’s setting is a fantasy world called Draconis where players play as the character Drew who is accompanied by an AI dragon named Thuban. Thuban is designed to be very independent although the player will be able to issue commands and eventually mount Thuban. Much of the focus on Thuban’s AI has been in making him reactive in interesting and helpful ways that will make him an asset, despite his unpredictable nature. The bond between Drew and Thuban will be prominent: If one dies in combat, so does the other. That tethering of the life meter coupled with the independence of Thuban has the potential to create some powerful emotional moments. Abilities can be customized and there are a variety of melee and ranged weapons at the player’s disposal. In a Dragon’s Dogma like fashion, players will be able to climb on larger creatures to perform more focused attacks. Four player co-op mode is also a notable and exciting inclusion. The world of Draconis is huge and lush with flora and fauna, and seems an ideal environment for multiplayer exploration and questing.
In interview after interview, the developers have stated that the relationship between Drew and Thuban will be paramount, and the game can be looked at as having two lead roles. The relationship between the two characters will deepen over time, with game mechanics reinforcing that. The omnipresence of Thuban at Drew’s side will hopefully encourage the player to develop a connection to the game and make choices consistent with those feelings. There is a lot of ambition here, especially in the realm of theory vs. practice, and regardless of the outcome, the effort is to be commended. Scalebound is definitely a title to keep an eye on. If your interest still isn’t piqued, dine on this awesome trailer:
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