Will Hideki Kamiya Release Scalebound as an Indie Project?

If going indie worked for Kojima, could it possibly work for Hideki Kamiya?

2 months ago by Morgan Shaver in Feature

The world of gaming is embroiled in a heated discussion regarding the cancellation of the highly anticipated Xbox One exclusive, Scalebound. Is there hope for Scalebound in the indie game marketplace? Well, let’s take a look at where things stand at the moment.

Following the abrupt and unexpected demise of Scalebound, developer PlatinumGames and director Hideki Kamiya released an official statement, apologizing to fans for the unexpected turn of events, and explaining that they’d keep chugging forward with other projects.

“Going forward, we will strive to continue delivering high-quality games to you, starting with NieR:Automata in March, and including products like GRANBLUE FANTASY Project Re:Link and LOST ORDER in the future,” stated PlatinumGames President and CEO Kenichi Sato.

Below the game's alluring surface, Scalebound has suffered from a few setbacks during its development. An interesting example of this is when Kamiya expressed discontent towards Microsoft’s marketing of the game in 2014. Apparently, Microsoft had a firm opinion of what they wanted Scalebound to be. Because of this, it began to feel as though there were two iterations of Scalebound: the one Microsoft wanted, and the one PlatinumGames wanted.

The situation has been compared to what Hideo Kojima experienced with Konami after they pulled the plug on Silent Hills. However, one of the many differences between the two scenarios is that Kamiya and PlatinumGames appear to remain on good terms with Microsoft. Despite the fact that Microsoft essentially ripped the rug right out from underneath them.

So while Kojima had the freedom to give Konami the boot one and for all, the same cannot be said for Kamiya and PlatinumGames.

While Sato and company press resolutely forward, focusing their attentions on projects like NieR: Automata, one final question remains at the forefront of my mind… what will become of Scalebound? I was among the countless gamers looking forward to the title, which makes it difficult for me to stomach the news.

The obvious outcome is that Scalebound will be shelved for the time being and left to collect dust. Unless another publisher decides to foot the bill and convinces Microsoft resurrect the title (unlikely), or Microsoft changes their mind entirely and puts Scalebound back into production (the most implausible scenario in all of this).

Another prospect that has cropped up is whether or not Scalebound will be released as an indie venture. Unlikely though it is, there’s an undeniable demand for the game. After the announcement that Scalebound was toast, waves of gamers expressed a mixture of devastation, disappoint, anger, distrust, etc.

With such a strong response and a substantial degree of progress already made to the game, there’s still a glimmer of hope for Scalebound in the indie market. 

As it stands right now, I can’t say I see the game being released as an indie project, much as I would love to see it happen. Things could change dramatically in the future, especially considering the demand was set pretty high. Just because Microsoft passed, doesn't mean the game doesn't have intrinsic value. Could Microsoft release the IP, giving someone else a chance (like Hideki Kamiya)? It's something I think about as I mourn the loss of Scalebound.

The differences between Kojima moving on to create Death Stranding and Hideki Kamiya taking Scalebound under his wing are vast, yes. However, if Kamiya and the crew at PlatinumGames can learn anything from Kojima’s example, it’s to never let anything set you back.

Whether it be Konami shutting down Silent Hills or Microsoft putting a lid on Scalebound, what is dead may never die. RIP Scalebound (for now).