Action RPG Scalebound was announced to be cancelled earlier this week, resulting in fan disappointment and Microsoft losing a notable title from their Xbox One lineup this year. While a statement regarding the cause has yet to be given, both Platinum Games and Xbox head Phil Spencer proceeded to apologize for the cancellation, although Spencer had an interesting opinion as well.
Platinum Games posted an apology on their official blog, with President and CEO Kenichi Sato writing: "We are very disappointed things ended up this way, especially since we know many of our fans were looking forward to this game as much as we were". He said after that that they would "strive to continue delivering high-quality games to you", beginning with their other action RPG, NieR: Automata.
"We will keep working hard to meet your expectations and we look forward to your continued support!" he finished.
An apology was written by Scalebound director Hideki Kamiya on Twitter as well, saying that he was "very sorry to everyone who was looking forward to this game".
Also apologizing to fans on Twitter was Spencer, but some days before that he had an interesting take on the whole situation. Take a look at his tweet below.
"... we believe result is better 4 Xbox gamers"... wait, what?
So, while he notes that the decision was "still disappointing", he also thinks that the result would be better for Xbox gamers, though he doesn't specify how so. It's a bewildering thing to read at a glance - why would a cancellation of such a notable title be a good thing? - and the rest of the statement attempts to redirect focus from Scalebound's dragon-sized loss to the remaining Xbox One lineup.
One Twitter user amusingly replied that "... in those 17 line up, you dont have nothing similar like Scalebound".
My initial impression was that Microsoft just wanted to bury the whole thing quickly, and some of their actions do indicate that. Eurogamer and IGN reported that the Scalebound's trailers had been removed from the Xbox YouTube channel, while the game's Xbox.com page now redirects to the main page instead. (Note: the game's gone from Platinum Games' website too, but their YouTube channel still has videos of it).
But looking back at Spencer's statement, perhaps what he meant was that Microsoft would be able to dedicate more attention to their other games now, resulting in greater polish and smoother development. Maybe. And yesterday, he responded to a fan's tweet that the cancellation "hurt me as well and to the community I apologize".
It still remains to be seen if the remaining Xbox One lineup can rival the PS4's in anyway, though it feels very unlikely despite having some promising titles. Still, there's a small ray of light in the Xbox One's future: in a reply to a different tweet, Spencer noted that "1st party internal studios are critical", but he won't "abandon signing independent studio projects".
Scalebound may (unfortunately) be done for, and the PS4 looks set to maintain its stronger position over the Xbox One this year. But still, perhaps it's not time to give up on the Xbox One yet.