On 9th January 2017 Microsoft announced the cancellation of one of their most promising games, Scalebound. The game was originally to be released before the end of 2017 but was pushed back to 2017. A Microsoft representative stated: “After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for Scalebound. We’re working hard to deliver an amazing lineup of games to our fans this year, including Halo Wars 2, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Sea of Thieves and other great experiences.”
Scalebound was an action role-playing video game that was being developed by Platinum Games and directed by Devil May Cry’s Hideki Kamiya. In this game players play as Drew, a cocky young hero who is transported to the world of Draconis and bound in spirit to a dragon called Thuban. To defeat their enemies, players would have a variety of weapons to choose from. Even though the dragon was controlled by AI players could give it various commands. Unlike previous games developed by Platinum Games, Scalebound focused more on graphical qualities and the role-playing aspect instead of action.
Although there is no concrete information as to why the game was cancelled the rumors and news from inside sources persist. The game was last shown in August 2016 at Gamescom, then its social media feed stop posting about the game in September. The game’s development was always subject to difficulties but it is around this period that matters have said to taken turn for the worse. According to we have heard, Platinum Games and Microsoft have said to have clashed over creative differences and this had a huge negative impact on the morale of the development team. This was a clash of different design philosophies between a Japanese developer and a Western Publisher. At one stage both the project director Hideki Kamiya and creative producer J. P. Kellams are said to have taken a month’s long absence from the company. Working with Microsoft and being unable to get them to budge on certain creative aspects was putting a strain on their mental health. Technical problems have also said to have plagued development. According to a source, they were unable to run the game consistently on Xbox One. Platinum Game is renowned for having high standards when it comes to performance but a solution about how to resolve these issues between them and Microsoft was never reached. The same source placed the blame for that mostly on Microsoft for their apparent unwillingness to consider compromising and dialing back on key features. These issues continued to persist and the game ended in a state of limbo and uncertainty until December when it was finally shut down by Microsoft. Currently there are zero plans to revive it and since the IP is owned by Microsoft, it is unlikely it ever will be. As of right now, Microsoft is currently trying to make the game disappear. They have begun deleting all videos on the project from their official YouTube channel. This scorched Earth approach of theirs speaks volumes about how the project went and how Microsoft feels about it.
So now with Scalebound no more a reality, should Xbox players jump ship and shift to PlayStation or do they have something to look forward in 2017? That is what we will discuss now. The following:
- Rise & Shine
Rise& Shine combines elements of bullet hell shooters and puzzle platformers in a world filled with video game references. To be released on 13th January 2017
- Halo Wars 2
Halo Wars 2 is a real-time strategy sequel to 2009’s Halo Wars that follows Captain Cutter and his crew as they face a strong enemy brute faction called The Banished. To be released on 21st February.
Gone Home developer Fullbright’s next game is Tacoma, a mystery game set in space. To be released in Spring 2017.
Platformer Cuphead pairs run-and-gun gameplay with a distinct 1930s cartoon art style and plenty of boss battles. To be released in mid of 2017.
- Crackdown 3
Crackdown 3 is an open-world action-adventure game that has you stopping crime in a futuristic city where everything is destructible. Release date yet to be announced.
- Phantom Dust
A re-release of 2005 action strategy game Phantom Dust is coming to Xbox One, complete with Play Anywhere compatibility. Release date yet to be announced.
- Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves is a pirate adventure game with a shared world for you and your crew of friends to explore, whether you’re looking for loot…or trouble. Release date yet to be announced.
- State of Decay 2
State of Decay 2 is a multiplayer zombie survival game featuring an open-world environment and co-op gameplay with up to three other players. Release date yet to be announced.
Now let’s look at what Sony is offering for PlayStation enthusiasts this year:
- Gravity Rush 2
In Gravity Rush, you play as a woman who can defy the laws of gravity, meaning she can “fall” in any direction she chooses. A remake of that game has already come out on PS4, making way for this PS4-exclusive sequel. Watch the trailer above to get an idea of how you’ll be able to use the forces of nature to your advantage in Gravity Rush 2. To be released on 20th January 2017.
Think modern games are too easy? Nioh will show you that’s not always the case. Like the “Soulsborne” games before it, Nioh is no walk to Sunday school. Any given enemy is capable of cutting you down if you’re not careful. Set in a demon-infested version of ancient Japan, you play as a samurai who sets out to do away with the bad guys. To be released on 9th February 2017.
- Persona 5
With each new entry, the Persona series gets more and more popular. And for good reason, these games are great. They follow a group of teenagers who always get wrapped up in spellbinding mysteries as they explore dungeons, collect demons, and fuse those demons together to create new, more powerful creatures. It’s kind of like a more mature take on Pokémon, a recipe that never seems to get old. To be released on 14th February 2017.
- Horizon Zero Dawn
Guerrilla Games is an immensely talented studio that has spent the last 10 years making nothing but Killzone titles. Those are solid shooters, but they never reached the popularity of competitors like Halo or Gears of War.
Horizon Zero Dawn is something entirely new. It’s an action RPG that takes place 1,000 years in the future, when civilization has collapsed and robotic dinosaurs rule the land. You play as an archer who hunts these gigantic beasts and harvests their parts for tools. Watch the trailer above for an idea of what to expect. To be released on 28th February 2017.
- Dangaronpa 1-2 Reload
The board game Clue is a classic example of a closed-room murder mystery. In these stories, a group of people is trapped somewhere, and someone winds up dead. The murderer must be one of the group members, so the rest have to figure out which one it is. That’s the set-up of the Danganronpa games, but as they progress, more and more people wind up dead. These fantastic narrative-based titles came out on Vita a few years ago, but they’re well worth a look on PS4 for anyone who missed out on them. To be released on 14th March 2017.
- MLB: The Show 17
If you want a great baseball game, MLB The Show has been the go-to series in recent years. The 2017 will likely be no different. Each new installment introduces new tweaks and features, though what those will be in this one remain to be seen. To be released on 28th March 2017.
- Next Machina
When it comes to twin-stick shooters, no one does ‘em like Housemarque. While the developer might not be a household name, it’s been pumping out fantastic frenetic shooters for years now, the most famous being Super Stardust and Resogun. This one draws inspiration from classics like Robotron and Smash TV, putting crazy amounts of bullets on the screen and having you dodge your way through them while blasting enemies. It looks intense. To be released in the second quarter of 2017.
- Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
It’s not a whole new Uncharted game, but Lost Legacy is a standalone chunk of DLC that ditches Nathan Drake to center on two characters from previous adventures. One is Chloe Frazer, a capable thief last seen in Uncharted 3. The other is Nadine Ross, a complex villain who got short shrift in her debut in Uncharted 4. Release date yet to be announced.
- The Last of Us Part ll
A sequel to what many consider to be the best video game of the PlayStation 3 generation, The Last of Us Part II has a lot riding on it. But if any team can deliver another masterpiece, it’s Naughty dog. We don’t know much about this one yet, but based on the trailer above, it’s clear that it still centers on Joel and Ellie as they fight for survival in a world that’s gone to the dogs. And since Ellie is no longer a teenager, it must take place several years later. There’s no release date yet, but don’t expect to see this one until fall 2018 at the very earliest. Release date yet to be announced.
- God of War
This isn’t the God of War you grew up with. God of War games past have featured a loud, angry, one-note Kratos who lived to slice enemies apart and bed nameless ladies. The Kratos who stars in this game is accompanied by his son, whom Kratos is teaching to become a man (or, you know, demigod). The developers promise it will be a character-driven game, with more methodical and thoughtful combat. It looks great so far. Release date yet to be announced.
Disney has shut down its in-house game development teams in favor of licensing its properties out to developers who seem like a good fit. There’s probably no development team around that could make a better Spider-Man game than Insomniac. With titles like Sunset Overdrive and the excellent Ratchet & Clank under its belt, it’s safe to say old Spidey is in good hands. Release date yet to be announced.
- Death Stranding
When Hideo Kojima left Konami after releasing Metal Gear Solid 5, fans wondered what would be next for the enigmatic game maker. The answer is Death Stranding, but if you think the trailer above will let you know what kind of game we’re in for, you’re quite mistaken. The trailer has Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus in it, but it offers more mysteries than answers. Based on how long MGS 5 was in development, don’t expect this one to see the light of day anytime soon. Release date yet to be announced.
- Final Fantasy VII Remake
Seeing this game revealed at E3 2015 was a major shock. After all, it’s not every day you get wind of one of the most famous games of all time getting a complete overhaul, turning its low-polygon graphics into high-def realism.
Final Fantasy VII is important in a lot of ways, but it’s primarily known for bringing Japanese role-playing games into the mainstream. When it launched in 1997 on the original PlayStation, it looked better than almost any other game on the market. It had incredible cinematic cut scenes, an epic story that spanned three discs, and a game world that dwarfed nearly any other that came before it. It tells a story of a small rebellion against an evil empire, and it’s fraught with twists, betrayals, and heartbreak.
Sure, you can play the game with its original graphics right now on PS4. But the graphics, like virtually all games from the early polygon era, look very dated by today’s standards. Many fans want to experience the game again as they remember it, not as it really was. That’s the promise of a remade version of Final Fantasy VII. It may not live up to our expectations, but then again, it just might. Release date yet to be announced.
- Days Gone
What do you get when you mix Sons of Anarchy with zombies? Something like Days Gone, a game that follows a biker through a zombie apocalypse that looks much like the one from World War Z. That means your blood-thirsty enemies will come at you in fast-moving hordes, which you can thin down by spraying them with automatic weapon fire. If you’re not burned out on zombie games, this will surely be worth a look. Release date yet to be announced.
- Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
In the PlayStation One era, Crash Bandicoot was to Sony what Mario is to Nintendo: a colorful mascot that starred in top-notch platformers. Developer Naughty Dog has since moved on to much bigger and better things (Uncharted, The Last of Us), but another studio has been enlisted to remaster the first three Bandicoot games and bring them to PS4. And who knows, if it sells well, perhaps we’ll get a brand new Crash Bandicoot game in the future. Release date yet to be announced.
- Detroit: Become Human
With games like Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls under his belt, director David Cage is known for making story-driven games that are basically playable movies. Detroit: Become Human is another one like that. Set in a future when highly advanced androids are used in service to humans, the game asks the question of what the androids have to say about this setup. With philosophical themes like the nature of humanity in it, this game should have no problem standing out from the crowd. Release date yet to be announced.
- Knack 2
And now for the sequel no one wanted. That may sound rough, but Knack was a major disappointment when it launched in 2013. That said, if Knack 2 can capitalize on the promise of the original’s premise, we could end up with a solid beat-‘em-up that appeals to kids and adults alike. Release date yet to be announced.
- Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
A sequel to a fairly niche Japanese RPG, Revenant Kingdom will bring players back to the fantasy anime world of the original. It’s a stunningly beautiful world that’s sure to make JRPG fans happy, even if we don’t quite know what the game will be about just yet. Release date yet to be announced.
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
You probably wouldn’t expect a game called “Hellblade” to offer much in the way of introspection, but that’s what the developers are going for here. Developed by Ninja Theory, the makers of excellent games like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and DmC: Devil May Cry, Hellblade is a game about mental illness.
The hero is Senua, a Celtic warrior who essentially has PTSD brought on by surviving a violent Viking invasion. That leads to anxiety, depression, and hallucinations, all of which you actually play through from Senua’s perspective. Release date yet to be announced.
- Ace Combat 7
Take to the skies and blast enemies out of the air in the latest installment in a long line of war plane shooters. Developer Bandai Namco is touting the PS4’s power to deliver killer graphics and tactical dogfights. The game will also be fully playable in PlayStation VR for anyone who wants to make the experience as immersive as possible. Release date yet to be announced.
Wild is set in an unusual time period for a game: 10,000 years ago, when early humans roamed the land, along with a wide variety of wildlife. Crazily enough, in this game you can play as any creature you want, including humans, horses, sheep, and even fish. Beyond that, the game world is said to be as big as the entire continent of Europe, and features dynamic seasons and weather systems.
If any of that turns out to be an exaggeration, it wouldn’t be the first time a developer has gotten overzealous in their remarks. But if they pull it off, Wild could wind up being like nothing we’ve ever played before. The trailer looks great, so here’s hoping the finished game lives up to the hype. Release date yet to be announced.
From the sound of it, Everything is like nothing else out there. It’s a game that contains an entire universe, from galaxies and solar systems down to blades of grass. The weird part is that you can play as anything you can see, even inanimate objects. Release date yet to be announced.
Described as “a consciousness simulator and open universe exploration game,” it will probably pique the interest of fans of games like Journey and Flower. The game was conceived by the artist who made the video game in the movie Her, so expect it to be creative as all get-out, and completely untraditional. Release date yet to be announced.
So clearly on paper Sony’s console looks much more appealing than Microsoft’s not only by the sheer number of exclusive titles but also because of the names like God of War and Last of Us Part ll expected for release in 2017 and beyond. However, Microsoft does have one ace up its sleeve and that is Project Scorpio which is to be released in 2017. With the tagline “The most powerful console ever built”, Project Scorpio may be Microsoft’s final attempt to compete with Sony in the current generation consoles. In fact, Microsoft is hoping Project Scorpio might be the end of console generations. In an interview with Engadget, Xbox head of games marketing Aaron Greenberg said that the Xbox Scorpio marks the beginning of the end of traditional console lifecycles for Microsoft.
“We think the future is without console generations,” Greenberg said. “We think that the ability to build a library, a community, to be able to iterate with the hardware – we’re making a pretty big bet on that with Project Scorpio.
“We’re basically saying, ‘This isn’t a new generation; everything you have continues forward and it works.’ We think of this as a family of devices.”
Greenberg goes on to say that, if the Scorpio is a success then it will “change the way we think about the future of console gaming.”
Will Project Scorpio be able to overcome the lack of exclusive titles that remains to be seen. But it is clear that Microsoft is putting all its eggs in one basket and if Project Scorpio doesn’t turn out to be a big deal then you can be sure there will be many gaming enthusiasts shifting platforms. It is because there is no point of having the most powerful console if you don’t have the games to take advantage of that power.