Scalebound, the Xbox One-exclusive action game from Bayonetta and The Wonderful 101 developer Platinum Games, is unlike anything the studio has done before in terms of building an action game, game director Hideki Kamiya says. Don't look to games like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta for a "template" by which to think of the mysterious Scalebound.
Kamiya, who was joined by producer Atsushi Inaba and creative producer JP Kellams at a Tokyo Game Show presentation this week, admitted he couldn't say much about Scalebound at this point. It's still early in development and was only recently announced at E3 2014. But Kamiya tried to convey what Scalebound would ultimately be.
"Monsters, dragons, large action [sequences], that is exactly what our key theme is for this game," Kamiya said through a translator. "This large, epic-scale of battle taking place right in front of your eyes [and] the impact and dynamism that it brings to the experience, that's going to be core to the game."
In Scalebound, players will fight alongside a giant dragon that aids them in battling other giant beasts. But the role of the dragon and the influence the player has on it isn't quite clear yet.
"I can't say a whole lot about how much of the detail or the control of the action you have over the dragon, but you will have a very good sense that this is a living, breathing partner on your side," Kamiya explained. "Whether it's through battle or through adventure, your relationship and your bond is going to grow throughout the story. Your player character and this dragon will form that bond and in that sense you will have a relationship...
"It's not just meant to be a tool for battle. It's not meant to be just your pet."
Asked whether the player's dragon can evolve over time, from an ability or gameplay perspective, Inaba couldn't provide much detail, but said "we envision this game as something you'll be playing for a long time."
Kamiya said that his latest game is not just a combination of the gameplay elements he's known for — quick reflexes, intuitiveness, high-skill play — plus a bunch of giant monsters.
"The way we're approaching our development and building the game is unlike what we've done before, it's a completely new take on how we make this [kind of] game," he said. "In that sense, I don't look at it as going to be just for the very skilled, advanced players. It should be appealing to a wider range of players — it's not going to have a very severe risk/reward type of feel. The dragon element, the fantasy world setting element hopefully will attract a wider audience and that the game itself, the combat system will match those expectations."
Kamiya also reiterated the point that Scalebound would focus less on quick reflexes and action than a game like Bayonetta, and that its next title would benefit graphically from that decision.
"The most important thing for Bayonetta was more focusing on the action, the reflexes, the challenge," he said. "That is not the main main focus [with Scalebound]. It allows for us to dig in deeper in terms of the quality of our visuals and our graphics... At first glance you'll see the Platinum essence come through. Even that will be unlike anything you've seen before."
Platinum Games fans shouldn't necessarily look to past action heroes like Dante or Bayonetta for reference for Scalebound's hero, who has been shown equipped with a large sword and bow and arrow. "That sort of template or style [of dual-wielding weapons] is not what we're aiming for," he said. "There's more to what we are building for the character."