Scalebound Is a Mystery No Longer

Scalebound Is a Mystery No Longer

[ Edit; 01/23/2015, 13:06:GMT: Disclaimer: This article features speculation. Its title is not its original–it was changed prior to publiction by an Editor, not by the author. ]

Scalebound’s game director, Hideki Kamiya, revealed a few weeks ago that the Xbox One exclusive is currently under “ intensive development. ” While there is additional information that’s currently known about the game, it’s still unknown at this time precisely what gamers will be getting into with the fantasy title. I originally started out this article with the thought of Scalebound possibly containing some similarities to Monster Hunter , but that hypothesis has since been debunked by Microsoft’s development manager Ken Lobb. Upon reflection, the notion of Scalebound being similar to Monster Hunter purely because the game featured dragons and a large hydra in its announcement trailer is really reductive, so a comparison between the two on that basis alone would be silly (in my opinion).

As January has moved on, we’ve been given tidbits of a larger picture as to what Scalebound may be. After further research, it’s been made clear to me that the Xbox One exclusive will be unlike anything Platinum Games has made before, according to interviews with the game’s director, Hideki Kamiya , by Eurogamer , VG24/7 and IGN . From what I’m currently aware of so far, Scalebound will be a triple-A title that’ll feature dragon companions (who’ll you’ll apparently form a bond with as your progress through the game as an underlining theme), and it may possibly an open-world RPG as well. Platinum Games are also wanting Scalebound to be a game with global appeal , with dragons and its genre taking front, right and centre, and a combat system to match. Because of this, it’s also been said that the game may not be as action-orientated as some of the developer’s previous titles have been (such as the Bayonetta games and Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance ). Multiplayer and character customization have also been alluded to.

So, what exactly are we getting into with Scalebound ? In a nutshell, we’re looking at a title that’ll be focused on a more wider audience with its fantasy setting and a less-than-high-action-packed combat system, which will feature a theme of growing a bond between both yourself and your dragon companion. Aside from the few interviews that have been had regarding Scalebound , all we really have as any indication of what the game may be like is the cinematic trailer. While game trailers may not be entirely representative of the final product, sometimes it’s all there is to go on. Considering “ every scene [and] every moment that you see [in the trailer] really has meaning and purpose behind it,” according to Kamiya. The game’s creative producer, JP Kellams, reiterated this by saying: “Every shot has meaning in that trailer, and if you look at that trailer and think about it the meaning will come through.” So far,  the CGI trailer is the best way to figure out what Scalebound may offer.

[ The following contains speculation. ]

From what Scalebound’s trailer actually shows, the featured character with high-tech Beats-style headphones has his right arm encased in what appears to be either dragon skin or dragon armor. It’s from this gauntlet the character seemingly draws power from (as seen when he enfuses an arrow with some kind of magic, which is then fired at the large insect-like beast), or the gauntlet itself is a physical manifestation of the power that’s already within him or of the power given to him as a result of his bond with his dragon.

The gauntlet has both similar colors and a similar aesthetic to the character’s dragon companion, which becomes more apparent when said character encases himself–seemingly by magic–in dragon armor. This reinforces the “bound” idea of the game’s namesake. As a player, you seem to be “bound” to your dragon in more than an emotional sense, and you’re bonded armor reflects the same colors as your dragon’s. If the character and his dragon are any indication of this in the trailer, then it may be fair to deduce that the riders on the other dragons that appear later on also have bonded armor that features similarities to their dragon companions.

Kamiya elaborated a little bit more on this a few months ago , saying that you “ will have a very good sense of [there] being a living and breathing partner on your side.” As your journey endures with your bonded companion, the relationship will grow and strengthen. According to him, your bonded dragon is “not just meant to be a tool for battle” and “not meant to be your pet on the side.” It’s from this that we may deduce that the companions are meant to grow into your trusted friend, whom you may grow attached to as your relationship with it endures. It could also be speculated that the stronger the “bond” is between you and your dragon, the powers and abilities of each will amplify respectively (or even unlock, for that matter–the greater the bond, the more powers unlocked).

This companionship will probably play a part in Scalebound’s story as well. It could possibly also get to a point where the bonded pair may be able to anticipate each other’s next actions, as indicated by the dragon boosting the character up with its tail and pulling its prey into a position so that the character’s blade will plunge into a weak point.

Scalebound Is a Mystery No Longer

Beasts, like the large insect-like one in the trailer, could be encountered randomly when adventuring as well, or they could be purposely hunted for either experience and/or materials. While the Beast-style headphones owner doesn’t seem to collect anything from the beast before the hydra appears and devours it, it could be that Scalebound features a dynamic enemy encounter system, which would give players little time to respond to a new threat after already dealing with one should another beast decide to get all up in their grill.

Dead beasts could also drop  loot for all we know, but it would be a real (interesting) kick in the teeth if you’re searching for a beast-specific material and along comes a bigger monster that eats its. That would probably lead to frustration if not executed correctly, but if implemented well it would keep players aware and on their toes if there’s something bigger stomping around that may want the beast you’re trying to kill (for X material) for breakfast. Of course, that’s assuming there will be loot in a beast’s corpse. There might be loot in the equation at all, and all the beasts could just be for experience only.

While a multiplayer has yet to be confirmed for the game, there’s the possibility that there might be if we are to trust Kamiya’s and Kellams’ word that everything shown in the trailer means something. Alternatively, Scalebound might not feature online play at all, but may feature a party system instead. At least one other rider is confirmed out of the four additional dragons that appear later in the trailer. Two dragons remain unconfirmed as to whether or not they actually have riders, but the fourth dragon is confirmed to apparently have no rider at all.

This implies a number of things: that one player could possibly team up with another and go adventuring together a la Monster Hunter , or one player could drop into another player’s instance and help out at just the right time, or there could be a persistent universe element where multiple players can interact with each other in the game. Whatever the case, an additional human companion may be able to help you in your travels, whether the companion itself is a player, NPC or party member.

The scene in the trailer also implies that dragons may not have to be bonded with companions in order to be helpful. It could suggest that an additional dragon could be called upon for help a la Final Fantasy X ’s aeons. Alternatively, a player could be bonded with multiple dragons at once – one primary dragon and maybe a secondary dragon. From a gameplay standpoint, this would make sense, as different dragons could be used effectively in certain situations compared to other dragons.

Again, I’d like to reiterate that anything below the embedded Scalebound trailer (save this paragraph) is speculation , which means I could be either be right, utterly wrong or somewhere in between. Without additional information regarding gameplay and what else to expect from the title itself, all we have is the game’s trailer and some interviews. Scalebound has yet to be given an official release date as well. While I’ve voiced what I think we’ll get into with Scalebound , what do you think the game will feature? Debate your thoughts in the comments below!

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