Platinum Games is known for Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and more. The company develops games that are heavy in action. Massive combos against equally massive and unique enemies to create something that is almost more akin to artwork than a simple videogame. However, when it comes to the studio's latest endeavor, Scalebound, they've taken their trademark style and flipped it around for this Xbox One-exclusive.
We finally got to take a good look at Scalebound at Gamescom in Germany last week. What was on display has a lot of people very excited, and for good reason. The game features two main characters, Drew, a not-so-typical 20-something human, and Thuban, a dragon. The two are bonded and directly linked to one another. If one dies, so does the other.
What makes Drew not-so-typical is the fact that he has a dragon-like arm. When Thuban's life is in danger, the arm glows to let you know that Thuban needs to be healed. But this isn't just another game where you bark orders to a secondary character. Yes, you can tell Thuban to move to a specific location or attack a certain object or enemy, but then it's up to Thuban's A.I. to determine exactly how that goes down.
As you play through the game and defeat enemies, you'll start to see the RPG elements of this action-RPG. You can level up and customize Thuban, while also powering up Drew as well. Thuban is the primary focus of the customization though. You can create a giant tank out of Thuban, giving him more weight and decking him out in protective armor. With this arrangement you can use Thuban to take the lead in battles and soak up all the damage while you follow behind.
If taking a back seat isn't your pleasure, you can customize Thuban to be lighter and far more agile. With this customization, Thuban won't be able to take as much damage, but he'll be much faster on his feet and he'll be able to avoid enemy attacks better. It's all about your style of play and how you want the relationship between Drew and Thuban to evolve.
As you level up both characters, you'll also unlock new abilities. For instance, early in the game Drew may not be able to ride Thuban and quickly move from one place to the next. However, as you level up and the bond between the two characters grows, you will eventually be able to fly around on Thuban's back. Likewise, if there's a ledge high above that you can't reach early in the game, as your bond with Thuban increases he will eventually lift you up with his tail so you can reach higher places. This could potentially be used to open up new areas or reach special items.
Once Drew has enough energy, he can transform into a dragon-like humanoid being. This gives him a brief boost of power that will come in handy against larger, more formidable enemies. In the demo we saw, Drew transformed when a giant mantis enemy appeared. The transformation allowed Drew to scale the enemy and inflict some hefty damage with his weapon. Speaking of which, the weapon can be changed and upgraded over time as well, just like Thuban.
Drew is from our world and somehow ended up in Thuban's world of Draconis. There are plenty of insect-like creatures in the world, along with soldiers and more humanoid enemies. The world is massive and it will take a considerable amount of time to explore all of it. For the most part, you won't see the fantastical creatures you may be accustomed to seeing in Platinum Games titles. Instead, these enemies are more realistic. That is, until we reached one of the dungeons in the game and found an enormous, seven-headed beast waiting for us.
It was when we entered the dungeon that we also saw several other players come in to battle. They all had custom weapons that looked nothing like outs, and their dragons were quite varied as well. Platinum isn't talking too much about multiplayer at the moment, but we do know the game will support four-player co-op at the very least.
Scalebound is still very early on at the moment. The game doesn't have an official release date as of yet, but it's tentatively scheduled to release toward the end of 2016. Stay tuned to Prima Games as we provide more insight into Scalebound over the coming months. For now, be sure to check out some of the other big announcements at Gamescom last week!