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Bayonetta Director Explains How Canceled Scalebound Can Help Future Platinum Games

Scalebound is dead, but the memories will last a lifetime.

News by Matt Kim, .

PlatinumGames' Scalebound was set to be one of the Xbox One's most intriguing exclusives. However, Scalebound was unexpectedly canceled which came as a great shock to fans. Now, in a profile from IGN, Platinum director Hideki Kamiya talks a little about Scalebound's cancellation and how the project is still talked about in the company's Japan offices.

How to Train Your Dragon

"For the fans, an apology is really all that I can offer. I'm terribly sorry," Kamiya told IGN in a recent interview. "That goes for the fans, but it goes for the team members wor worked on the game as well. The staff here at Platinum, the creative team at Microsoft, there were a lot of people who worked on this game and tried to make it special." Kamiya also says that he feels "a lot of weight" for not delivering the game.

However, Kamiya does acknowledge that, as with all things in life, there are lessons from Scalebound's development that will help Platinum as the company moves onto other projects. "Along the way we learned a lot and gained new experience, so the time we spent was not wasted."

Recently, Kamiya held an informal meeting at the Platinum offices, discussing ideas for a new project. He said that the meeting was not mandatory, but there were many members on the former Scalebound dev team who showed up anyways, eager to get started on another project.

Kamiya didn't share what exactly these new game ideas were, but explained that he was surprised at the activity at the meeting. "There were lots of questions like, 'Okay, well then, what about this?' or 'I have an idea that might work in this game.' I was getting lots of feedback. If you're in a small room, where you have a group of five or 10 people, it's easy for people to exchange opinions. But if you get 50 people or more in a room together and you then say, 'Okay, question time, does anybody have anything to say?' usually you hear crickets, because no one wants to speak up. But not this time."

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There are no official announcements of a new game from PlatinumGames, but the studio apparently has a "full slate" of projects currently in the works. PlatinumGames recently developed Nier: Automata with Square Enix. Automata was a critical and financial success, shipping more than a million copies back in April.

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Comments 10

  • Avatar for Ralek #1 Ralek 10 months ago
    I'd really love to know a) WHAT went wrong there in detail and b) HOW it could go so horribly wrong again in the first place. This, Phantom Dust and Recore were basically the "diversity hires" for Xbox's entire AAA gaming brand. Out of these three two were canceled due to what appears to be a dissent between Microsoft and the developers about the direction and quality (?) of the game and the last one was rushed out somewhat prematurely, with several technical issues and a DLC still missing in action to this day.

    I've got nothing but respect for Phil Spencer, I mean he says all the right things, and the came through on stuff like bringing Lost Odyssey to BC, as well as the token release of Phantom Dust HD, but it seems to me, that there is some gross mismanaging going on over at Xbox.

    I don't know about the rest, but the studio behind Scalebound, PG; is a seasoned development house, with by now extensive experience as a 'mercenary developer' for different companies, so it strikes me as odd to assume that they screwed up so badly, that the game had to be canned altogether.

    I think this is a real problem for Mircosoft, because their first-party capabilities at this time are rather limited, so they are in dire need of exclusive 3rd-party support and partnerships. Looking at these three prominent examples, it just seemsto me that they lack the necessary skills to properly handle such projects. I mean, I'm not sure what the deal on Fable Legends was exactly, but that, too, fell apart for sure. If you contrast this with Sony or Nintendo, then you can't help but feel that something is wrong over at Xbox and some responsibility must then rest with it's head, Spencer. He hasn't been there from Day1 (in that position), but he's been there long enough by now.

    I mean, it's obvious that for example SMT X FE or Mirage Sessions, as it was called afterwards, went through some difficult patches as well, but at the end of the day, Nintendo and Atlus managed to stick it out and salvage that project. I'm almost positive that this did not come easy to them, and that it took some doing and some guts (considering how 'out there' the final result was), but they showed real, if delayed, follow-through and I can appreciate it (and I was surprised to find the game highly enjoyable despite the weird premise^^)

    I don't know, it just bothers me, that I can no longer trust anything Microsoft announces as long as it does not include the words "Forza", "Halo" or "Gears of War". Hell, at this point, I would not be surprised if Crackdown were re-announced as a Scorpio exclusive, which to me, would mean that a majority of games, I was looking REALLY forward to play on the system, when I initially decided to bother getting one, was more or less lost somewhere along the road to release.

    Taking into account the COLOSSAL blunder that was the Xbox One reveal (it will live on in infamy for all eternity I wager ^^), it is just baffling to me, how this kind of poor management, and frankly poor communications (like in case of this Scalebound cancellation) can keep on happening. Someone really su**s at the job over there, sorry to say it ... Isn't the Xbox brand a valueable enough entity for one of the most valueable companies out there, to bother staffing it with a set of competent professionals? Oo
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #2 Roto13 10 months ago
    I'm still so pissed about this game being cancelled. Not just because it would probably have turned out great if it had enough time to be finished, but also because now the next Hideki Kamiya game is years out because the best action game director in the business wasted his time with these fools.

    Microsoft has wasted all of their good will with me. If they announce anything cool that isn't some dudebro shooter or racing sim at E3, I'm just going to assume it'l be cancelled and leave my Xbone in the closet where it's out of the way.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #3 VotesForCows 10 months ago
    @Ralek Great comment.

    And my two cents - this is such a disappointment. Don't have an Xbox, but the world is better for having more Platinum games in it. Here's hoping their next title is as successful as Automata, and doesn't take too long!
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  • Avatar for Ralek #4 Ralek 10 months ago
    @VotesForCows Thanks, and I agree, while not all their games are hallmarks of greatness (Korra and TMNT come to mind) most of them are actually pretty darn great, and more than, they actually tend to have a unique flavour, like for example Vanquish - something the industry can NEVER have enough of - plus some really good character designs, like Bayonetta (not to mention the whacky but charming story and world).

    Considering Nier Automata is Sony console exclusive, and considering the WiiU has Bayonetta 2 and Wonderful 101 as well as Star Fox Zero (not ot mention Mad World), Microsoft seems to be the only one of the major platform holders unable or unwilling to acquire a PG (console) exclusive title. That is one unfortunate mark of distinction.

    After Nier Automata and Sony's hints about big announcements regarding the resurging Japanese developer interest, I think it's not even out of the question, that Sony and PG might have yet another thing cooking together.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #5 VotesForCows 10 months ago
    @Ralek Yeah, they've been patchy, but when they're on it there's very little out there to compare. Would love a big announcement from E3...
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  • Avatar for jmsebastian #6 jmsebastian 10 months ago
    It's interesting to see the term "fan" used with regard to a game that was never released. You get into pretty pedantic territory by focusing too much on language like this, but I think it does reveal something about the way the video game industry has shifted, especially regarding its marketing.

    Games get announced way before they are even close to finished, often times before any real work has been done on them at all. Devs and publishers do this in order to gain "fans" that will pre-order the game, thereby guaranteeing a certain number of sales in order to finish said game. You'd think after getting burned so many times and the number of development houses that have been dissolved or sold, that the industry would be aggressively searching for a more stable business model. The way it is now, essentially every single developer is on borrowed time.

    Eventually, and probably sooner rather than later, the amount of money spent hyping a game that doesn't yet exist is going to vastly outstretch any money they earn in sales, thus making it extremely difficult or impossible to continue making games. There are so many pitfalls with creating hype as well. Games like No Man's Sky got a ton of backlash after it underdelivered on promises, and given how outlandish some of the claims that games make in order to stand out from the crowd, they basically guarantee that they won't be able to make good on that hype.

    Maybe I'm just really cynical, but whatever lessons Platinum is learning on the development side of this, I doubt publishers have learned anything. Games can only win over fans if they are well made, interesting, and you know, actually make it to market.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #7 Roto13 10 months ago
    @jmsebastian He was obviously talking about fans of Platinum Games and fans of Hideki Kamiya himself, of which there are many.
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  • Avatar for jmsebastian #8 jmsebastian 10 months ago
    @Roto13 Based on the quote, I don't think it's nearly as obvious as you think it is. Sure, Platinum and Kamiya do have fans of their own, but it's not clear that he is talking about them, specifically. He seems to be talking about fans of the game.

    Of course, which fans are being referenced doesn't really contradict or invalidate my main point, so it doesn't really matter.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #9 SatelliteOfLove 10 months ago
    @Ralek

    Read Lionhead interviews post-closing. It may not be a 1-1 chronicle, but it shows the thinking behind the trainwreck.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #10 NiceGuyNeon 10 months ago
    Scalebound's cancellation is one of the greatest tragedies of this system generation if only for all the potential it had to be something genuinely special.

    Kamiya is a stellar director and I find it difficult to imagine he or the rest of the team at Platinum screwed up so badly after delivering so many (critical and cult) classics.

    Platinum busted out two games for Nintendo and a port of the game that made them famous with bonus content on a system that was dead on arrival. And despite that I would say there was no single game that even came close to Bayonetta 2. Not a single one I'd even put in the same category of quality as it.

    Scalebound presented an opportunity for Platinum to have an exclusive on an American machine, an opportunity for Microsoft to show some creative juice and entice maybe a few people to at least go for an Xbox, and it presented an opportunity for Kamiya to explore what looked like a solid, systems based RPG.

    All of it squandered in a big ball of what I assume was mismanagement. When you have a team like Platinum, back off, let them go bonkers. No one regrets the results when they're let off of their leashes.Edited June 2017 by NiceGuyNeon
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