Little has been said so far about the dragons of Scalebound, the fantasy action role-playing title from Platinum Games and Hideki Kamiya. Drew, star of the show, and his dragon Thuban are a team, working together to vanquish enemies. Their bond in-game will be even more powerful: Drew, and by extension the player, has the ability to directly control his scaled friend.
At Gamescom 2016, Kamiya and creative producer J.P. Kellams showed a pre-recorded video that detailed Dragon Links and customization. Drew and Thuban are connected, Kellams said, and therefore share a life force that Drew can use to his advantage in battle. Once linked, the game swaps out its over-the-shoulder view for a first-person perspective from Drew as he directs Thuban.
"While they are physically two different beings, when you go into Dragon Link their minds are merging into one," Kamiya said via translator. "You're controlling Thuban through Drew's perspective and using his powerful attacks and moves. At that point, Drew is going to be defenseless."
Drew does his best to stay alive
While Thuban grapples with terrifying foes, Drew does his best to stay alive; he's still vulnerable while controlling Thuban and can be taken out with a heavy hand from an enemy. Swapping between the two seems to be effortless, however, or at least a quick change. This is essentially the game's combo system, where players switch between the two to deliver attacks in harmony.
"You want to make sure you find the right timing to use and to really work well with Thuban," Kamiya said.
Although Thuban will always appear as he does in the promotional materials — there's a reason for that that Platinum isn't ready to talk about — players can customize their dragons. There are three types players will have access to in Scalebound: the well-balanced rex, a heavy tank and a speedy wyvern. Players will be able to change attributes of their dragons with gems. During a separate video, the developer demonstrated how a player might change from a tank dragon to a rex, affecting both its skills and its appearance. The idea is to blend the qualities you want to create a dragon specific to your style.
"You're welcome to go down one path and develop in that way, but there are all these intermediate states where you can create your own dragon," Kamiya said. "The customization is so deep that you're going to be able to create your own play style of dragon. There's advantages to having different kinds of dragons."
"There's advantages to having different kinds of dragons."
Kellams added that while the three types may seem a little trope-y at first, the ability to blend them will help players create something more innovative. Additional customizations are available through armor and gem buffs. Armor can give dragons an extra defensive or offensive boost, but this isn't a permanent solution. You can mix and match your armor, but it will break as it takes damage in combat. A buff, meanwhile, comes in handy when a dragon enters berserker mode and can unleash special elemental attacks.
"You'll be able to sort of learn what these attributes, how they're going to contribute," Kamiya said. "You'll want to gradually start finding your favorite play style or dragon style that you want to grow into."
Scalebound, an Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive, is due to launch in 2017.