After the debacle that Sony’s PlayStation 4 exclusive No Man’s Sky hit gamers. The best thing in the world for publishers banking on big exclusive titles for their fan base, and customers is to make sure that titles deliver as best as possible. These days releasing a title that is lackluster or fails to live up to it’s own hype is more detrimental than never having the game released. To some extent Microsoft’s Xbox One already went through this, although limited Quantum Break by Remedy did disappoint some gamers who were looking for a revolutionary title from a developer who had a strong pedigree, and clout with gamers. Microsoft banked heavily on Quantum Break, and just never quite hit the ball out the park becoming a success; just not the way many had hoped. ScaleBound which had been delayed last year is a game that Xbox One faithful as well as on lookers wanted to see hit the console. Platinum Games the developer has been on a role of the last few years. Developing ground breaking titles for many platforms. Having a strong pedigree of developers on board the company, and being daringly independent Platinum Games has had the cache to try new things. With today’s announcement that ScaleBound is now cancelled Microsoft may have done the right thing.
The Xbox One in 2017 can’t afford to take a PR hit to it’s software line-up. Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Pro version titles coming are some of the strongest the publisher has seen thus far in the generation. Making a strong case against that is the Xbox One, and Xbox Scorpio(the latter being an upgrade to the Xbox One) is having software that exemplifies the existence of both consoles. The backlash as well as questions hitting Microsoft are flying as this is the biggest news thus far for consoles in 2017, and a rather a big deal as ScaleBound was meant to become a huge pillar in the thin exclusive tent of the Xbox division. With titles like Gears, Forza, and Halo being from previous generations. The Xbox brand is in need of strong titles that carry a pedigree worthy to be spoken in the same breathe as these classics. Another reason is the fact that you want to show growth and strength in your first party development/publishing effort every generation. Sony should have cancelled No Man’s Sky or at least opened it up from exclusivity. Instead it turned out to be one of the worst overblown hyped games in recent gaming history.
Make no doubt it had to be a very hard decision for Microsoft to cancel ScaleBound. Taking a PR hit this early in the year, Microsoft may have had this on the radar for months. They could have been hoping, adding resources, offering every type of assistance to Platinum Games so that ScaleBound could be the game gamers had been promised. At this point Microsoft’s Xbox division now has to make sure that they can find titles that fill the void, or concede 2017 to Sony’s PS4 which is winning the global race in sales by a pretty wide margin. Microsoft may have to forego it’s strategy of trickling exclusives out in the fall to a much broader approach. With Scorpio incoming Summer 2017 may have to begin Microsoft’s onslaught of titles all the way up to the new year to stay relevant with its audience who are going to want to know why they should spend on the console experience of an Xbox Box One. I can’t help but think about the age old adage “Can’t miss what you never had”; ScaleBound not only falls into this category, but may have the most controversy surrounding it’s cancellation than any other title in recent memory. It may be bad today, but I have no doubt if the game were released broken with horrible game play Microsoft’s Xbox One generation would have been nonredeemable this generation.