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Xbox Founder Seamus Blackley on Scalebound's Cancellation

The father of Xbox, Seamus Blackley, shares his thoughts on the cancellation of Scalebound, Horizon Zero Dawn, and how Microsoft works internally.

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tyasia0236d ago (Edited 236d ago )

Microsoft had the option to continue with Scalebound they chose to cancel it. Sony showed with The Last Guardian that it's worth it to put in the time and money needed to finish what you start. It shows good will and that you are dedicated to the consumers, gamers and the studios you work with.

This will go down as one of Microsoft biggest mistakes this gen, canceling a game with an anemic line up to support the loss of the game. They could have had a great exclusive like Neir Automata which turned out to be an incredibly highly rated fantastic game.

After a debacle like that I highly doubt many Japanese developers are going to be eager to work with Microsoft in the future.

Lenrulesdaworld236d ago

Scalebound was a modern day game with a way bigger budget than TLG, it was also developed by Sony's 1st party studio. This was a 1st party IP developed by a 3rd party developer. It's not as simple as fans want it to be and that is exactly why Seamus explained things. The game wasn't going to be good, the development wasn't getting better and there's no since in keeping a broken project going. So they canceled it, they still own the ip, maybe it shows up another time, another day. For now, as much as I wanted it, i'm over it and look forward to what they have as E3. Hearing big thing from my connects who work with in MS.

tyasia0236d ago (Edited 236d ago )

First off he doesn't know why it was canceled he doesn't work at Microsoft anymore. That's why he was tweeting Phil who replied with the infamously dumb statement that canceling games is better for the gamers. Microsoft could have continued to work on the game or offered help if there was a problem but they chose to cancel it which was a huge mistake for them.

On top of that it's not known who owns the IP for Scalebound even if they do own the IP it's extremely unlikely they have source code or the rights to continue working on the game without Platinum Games. Which is why it was canceled and didn't have development switched to begin with.

Sciurus_vulgaris236d ago (Edited 236d ago )

I wouldn't say that scalebound game was not going to be good. I think the main reason Scaleboind's cancellation maybe tied to the game having a potentially a rough development. Platnium got so many other games done before Scalebound. To me it seems like the project wasn't getting the resources it needed. The budget for the game kept climbing, without significant progress, which is what I think lead to the title unfornately being cancelled.

@tyasia I think MS would retain ownership of Scalebound even after they canceled it. It was MS who trademarked and funded the game.

http://trademarks.justia.co...

tyasia0236d ago (Edited 236d ago )

@Sciurus_vulgaris

Owning the IP is not the same as owning the source code. For example when Activision canceled True Crimes: Hong Kong United Front Games retained the source code and re-pitched it to SquareEnix they then continued the game under the title Sleeping Dogs.

Personally I think Sony should work with Platinum Games and release Dragonbound.

_-EDMIX-_236d ago (Edited 236d ago )

All the more reason for why I probably shouldn't have been cancelled the don't you think?

@tyasia- absolutely agreed Sony is not afraid to bring in their own teams on properties that they own from third parties working on.

When ready at dawn was working on the order 1886 Sony made sure to have Sony Santa Monica assist them because that game was in development since something like 2010 Sony was not going to lose their money on their investment so when that game had some trouble they make sure Sony Santa Monica was there to help them out.

Sony Japan has even been credited for helping Kojima on numerous Metal Gear Solid titles that if you actually watch the credits you'll see that team has been highlighted as helping in Japan.

I think if Sony took over that concept and helped the Platinum Games make their spiritual successor to that game I think they would be fine only because if they had any huge trouble they could have one of their team's assist them.

Sony has enough teams to where they could do that ,Microsoft does not.

they failed to invest properly so I'm not surprised that we're probably running thin on teams that could even help platinum as to why they cancelled it and to be honest it's their own fault for being cheap ,for god sakes Sony was buying teams all the way back as 2006 yet Microsoft was basically doing nothing.

Dark_Knightmare2236d ago

When has ms ever had a big e3 but yeah we'll believe your sources at ms ;)

SirJoJo235d ago

@lenrulesdaworld

See how they didn't even read the article correctly. No amount of common sense can get through a corporate slave/fanboys resolve lol

thekhurg235d ago

Microsoft is too worried about "cool numbers" and being #1. They don't see that a diverse exclusive library is just as important as many other metrics. Sometimes taking a risk is worth it in the end.

Sony as been on both sides of that risk, and they're still dominating the console market. Sometimes games don't work out like you'd hope, but with a library as anemic as Microsoft's - they shouldn't be canceling anything right now.

Nu235d ago

You are such a troll. I own the Xbox One and it's exclusively lineup is sad compared to the competition.
Your to the point of sounding like a fanboy.

Aries83235d ago (Edited 235d ago )

To me it's clear as day the game was in bad shape. All you have to think about is this one simple thing, since SB was actually given a release date, there has been NO new footage of the game whatsoever. How is it that after 2 years, we were watching the same gameplay demos? That says to me that there has not been significant progress, and that says a lot about that state of the game.

The best thing MS could've done was bail, and put those resources into something else, rather than shipping a game that hasn't reached it's full potential and polish. Look at the Recore backlash. That bold attempt at a new IP may potentially never have a sequel because of the poor reception, and I really like that game.

As far as the internet goes, the hate train was already out on SB. MS may have saved face by biting the bullet. I was excited for the game, and it hurts, but it is what it is.

InTheZoneAC235d ago (Edited 235d ago )

did this guy really just whine about a 3rd party developer handling a 1st party ip? Like that's never been done before....check out some sony exclusives kid.

It is utterly creepy how people will defend MS for everything they do.

christocolus235d ago (Edited 235d ago )

@Lenrules and @ Sciurus Stop trying to explain anything to anyone. It's a waste of your time. Those claiming to know what went down and those disagreeing with Seamus Blackley all have one thing in common. Go look through their comment history. Hint - they don't own an Xbox, they were never going to buy Scalebound and they are the ones you usually find lurking around xbox articles with nothing but BS spewing out their mouths all the time. So it's best you ignore. Don't feed them anymore than you already have. Scalebound cancellation was upsetting but i rather believe there was a good reason for this than keep talking out my ass I'm sure other games will come in its place.

mechlord235d ago

MS simply had no intention to put their faith on the game. there are lots of examples of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, n-th party games that struggled but were supported and delivered. If you think MS wasnt shady, then consider the whole phantom dust thingy.

PistolsAtDawn235d ago

Look at all the ignorant fanboy kids that simply don't want to accept what you said. What you said was 100% right. If you ended your statement with "Sony is god" or "Only Sony has good exclusives" the sheep would have upvoted you.

Critic4l_Strik3235d ago (Edited 235d ago )

@ Nu

You're*, not Your

Seafort235d ago

E3 is pretty much a marketing event where you find out which 3rd party games have been made timed or full exclusive by Microsoft or Sony.

Loads of fun for PC gamers watching the shitshow unfold to see what games they won't be playing in the next year :)

It should be an event I look forward to as a gamer but there's just too much money being thrown around with "under the table" deals these days. It has become the event I least look forward to now. Such a shame money ruins the enjoyment of my hobby I've had since I was 8 year old.

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Sciurus_vulgaris236d ago

I am aware that owning source code and IP aren't the same thing. I don't agree with MS cancelling Scalebound (unless their money was being mismanaged). If the game was good, it likely would of sold well over time due to deals with gold and other sales.

Having a strong digital market is something that allows publishers to make back money even if initial sales are low. Cancelling Scalebound was bad for PR. It hurt the image of Xbox for much of early 2017.

Lenrulesdaworld236d ago

1st I never said he knew, I said he explained why things get cancelled, not why Scalebound got cancelled. 2nd yes the game wasn't panning out, this why Hideki apologized for the issue, it's partially MS fault for forcing co-op, something the game engine couldn't handle and P* for is missed deadlines and development cycle. The engine played a roll in it as well. I know what i'm talking about because I talk the execs consistently and get that type of info. End of the day the game is gone and will be missed but more ip's will come that will be good or great at some point. Everything takes time, E3 is Phil's E3 hopefully he delivers.

GrubsterBeater236d ago (Edited 236d ago )

"I know what i'm talking about because I talk the execs consistently and get that type of info."

I'm sure that you talk to the MS execs regularly. With you poor grammar and spelling errors, I'm sure that they always just wanna talk to you and get your input on things. You talk to the execs consistently...? Why?

We all know you don't talk to the MS executives. Hahaha, do you think we are all stupid?

"E3 is Phil's E3 hopefully he delivers."

Well since you talk to the executives all the time, then you would know exactly how MS's E3 would go, wouldn't you? You wouldn't even need to speculate on any of this in the first place if you "talked to the execs consistently". Hahaha, such a liar. Why would you even make something like that up? It's like you are lying about that just to make your comment and opinion seem more valid and credible, yet instead it made you look like a liar and now have lost any future credibility or anyone here to trust anything you say from now on...

Segata236d ago

Your Uncle also works for Nintendo right? Your cousin for Sony?

rainslacker235d ago

Why couldn't the game engine couldn't do co-op? There are third party tools which could facilitate such a thing. Game engines aren't so restrictive that they can't handle modification. A game engine can interpret input from any number of sources, whether a controller, camera, or an IP transmission, it's all the same to the game loop.

If it's the game engine's problem, why would MS force co-op? If MS wanted co-op, the technical director would have been pretty adamant that the engine couldn't do it, and they'd have to restart the game with a new engine, at which time, MS would either have to provide the support, the tools, or allow the devs to start over with a new engine. MS is a lot of things, but they aren't stupid, and they know they can't force a square peg into a round hole. In any case, they showed co-op game play at the last E3. So the game engine could handle it, and they found a way to make it work. If they couldn't make a good game with co-op, that's a different issue not related to the ability of the game engine.

"P* missed deadlines"

There is evidence of this. What was the reason though? This is the part of the whole discussion which no one knows, and your execs at MS haven't explained to you.

Was it because P* was not capable of meeting milestones? Possibly, but P* is known for getting games done....sometimes quicker than they should, and the rather large number of delays on this game is unlike them.

Is it because MS kept changing what they wanted, or changed a major aspect of game design at some point? Hard to say, because there is no evidence that MS forced co-op later i the development cycle that caused a delay, so it's possible it was intended from the start.

Was it because they were using the improper engine for the kind of game they were making? Doubtful. Because again, P* has technical directors who would know the requirements for their game.

Was it because MS and P* just had a poor working relationship? Was P* given the proper resources to make the game? Was the lack of resources due to P* underestimating what was required? Was it because of changes to game design at some point without MS providing the additional resources? Was it because P* just said, "Yeah, we can do that", when MS requested changes without actually requesting additional resources? Was it because P* blew through the resources they had been given?

The answers above all up for speculation.

The only thing I want to know for sure is why it was good for Xbox gamers that this game was cancelled. Simple request, one that will likely never be answered. A simple answer, which could end all the speculation.

I also talk to people around the industry often as I provide tech support for the tools I make for game engines to other devs. Not typically the execs, because that's not my area, but word gets around. I have no insider knowledge on the topic of SB, but I can say that what Blackley says on why games get cancelled is often the case. Anyhow, my knowledge of what may come, what is, and who I talk to, will I rarely go around trying to use as a way to validate my arguments. I tend to not open myself up to that kind of breach of NDA or common decency among peers. If what I say can't be verified through google search, common sense, or technical knowledge of related subjects, I remain silent. As you can see from replies, name dropping/resumes means very little, so why bother trying to convince people in such a manner.

In other words, just try to make your arguments to sway people to use their own critical thinking skills.

TheCommentator235d ago (Edited 235d ago )

Grubster, Segata, Len Rules runs a podcast that regularly features on this site. His credentials are solid (look at his avatar image..The Inner Circle ring a bell?) and he does talk directly to MS employees.

Oh, BTW Grubster... I think you're all stupid, based upon your comment and the agrees you're getting, but I can't answer the question for Len. Thanks for asking though!

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-Foxtrot236d ago

I hope Sony picks it up somehow. Maybe just change the name and elements but basically the same concept. Like Dragon Bound or something. You could have Wing Bound or Feather Bound...like instead of Dragons it's Griffon's or Phoenix's. I don't know you get the point

naruga235d ago

^^exactly this ...the assets can easily be reused with a different name IP ...

Godmars290236d ago

@tyasia0:

No, focusing on online, group multiplayer, only not to commit to it will prove to be MS's biggest, likely never admitted, mistake.

I'm certain that originally Scalebound was a SP title, only MS insisted it have a multiplayer aspect and that wrecked development.

_-EDMIX-_236d ago

Absolutely agreed that portion of the game just reeked of Microsoft.

Sony is known for just letting the development team openly create.

UCForce235d ago (Edited 235d ago )

It's like MS don't care about SP after all.

rainslacker235d ago (Edited 235d ago )

While I agree that it was likely a SP title, it's hard to say if it completely wrecked development. They had a working co-op in the game at the last demo. It wasn't terribly impressive, but it was at least something. If that was indeed the reason why the game wasn't good, and it got cancelled, assuming that was the reason for the cancellation, then it would seem more logical to simply remove that aspect of the game design, and go back to the original SP premise, and release it as such. A statement that it was tried, shown, but utlimately wasn't up to snuff in the bigger picture is much better than the ultimate results of a cancelled game, much worse PR than the ridicule of removing a shown feature(read No Mans Sky), and the complete loss of all resources put into the game....which would have been substantial for the development time and production quality the game had.

I can't believe that MS was so hell-bent on it being a MP game that they'd cancel it on that premise alone should it not be very good. they could even say that it would come later, or simply make a separate MP part of the game. I know MS is big on MP experiences, but they're also big on not throwing away money that is already spent.

I think there is more to this story than we'll ever know, like the Konami/Kojima incidents, and the potential that there was forced MP(assuming it was forced and not part of the original design) was maybe just a small part of the overall reason why the game got cancelled.

I think a lot of people forget that there wasn't much shown of this game before the co-op demo. Very controlled and staged demos, so it's very possible that the game was having troubled development for a long time. The evidence of missed deadlines, and the director having a nervous break down for whatever reason, aren't things that can be ignored when trying to ascertain the truth.

I don't think that any one party is really to blame here. Generally, with a game this funded, and with so much marketing put behind it, the devs will be pushing hard to make it work, and the producer(MS) will work hard to provide the resources and support needed to get it done.

The fact that Spencer said it was going good a month or so before the cancellation means that MS still had faith in it, and they likely wouldn't have been like that if they were still working on a solution. However, at the same time, I think maybe the actual comment should have been rephrased to not be so adamant about it actually coming. Maybe something more along the lines of, "We're working hard to get it done", which is a much different platitude than, "Game is coming along great"(paraphrased).

_-EDMIX-_236d ago

Absolutely agreed.

The Last Guardian was not even as huge as scalebound was aiming to be, i saw scalebound becoming some huge Series in the future where we already knew the Last Guardian was not going to be moving huge Call of Duty numbers or anything like that.

For Microsoft to cancel this game because of their troubles is unfortunate into a degree I understand why they chose to make the decision that they made , but I still feel that there was more they could have done in regards to Bringing In Their Own teams to sort of help Platinum with their endeavor.

If Sony could spend a good part of almost 10 years in so many setbacks to deliver the Last Guardian a game that was never going to net them huge units like scalebound, why exactly can't Microsoft do that for even half of the time of an even bigger property when technically they're in need of such Concepts and not Sony?

One could easily argue Sony could afford to cancel the last guardian and I'm sure many people would probably understand but I don't really believe Microsoft was in position to where they should cancel scalebound because this is something they need badly they're getting beat left and right and I believe they need new blood purchasing Xbox.

rainslacker235d ago

TLG was actually shelved for a while due to hardware limitations on the PS3. So it wasn't a continuous development. It's possible MS will revisit SB in the same way, assuming they can. I think Sony was always supportive of Team ICO. They were one of those special teams within Sony which got the support they needed because they made really unique, and well respected titles which helped push the PS brand above and beyond. They weren't a team that made these majorly huge franchises like Halo or COD, but they brought in something special to the brand which Sony knows is important on getting a larger install base. I have often said how those extra 10K here, 100K there, which aren't the mainstream COD/AC/Halo/ETC gamers add up to a lot of people when you look at all these smaller titles in a broader scope. And because of this attitude that Sony has really always had, they are now being recognized more publicly as being a company that provides for a broader range of gamers, and it's easy to see why they always have done so well in the market.

MS may be thinking this way too, but they are basically starting where Sony was with the first PlayStation. They didn't build over time. They focused too narrowly on certain kinds of games after making strides to provide better diversity during the 360 days. Even the original Xbox had better diversity than the late 360 or X1 has now.

These things will take time for MS to implement should they now want to go this route. It's not going to happen overnight, and there's no way for even the devout MS fan boy to say this will happen, because there is no evidence of this happening. On top of that, MS is doubling down on Windows/Games as a service, and pushing games in that way, with the Xbox console itself becoming less important to the equation. I hate to say it, but it's actually the start of MS moving back to a software company that isn't as interested in the hardware side of things as they have been, and I'm going to wager that MS is going to look more at a licensing model for hardware like SteamBox or 3DO had in order to have a way to provide it's goal of having a presense in one's entertainment center still be a thing, without the high overhead of actually making a console. Nothing wrong with this really, but it's not something that many Xbox fan boys want to consider, because to them, it somehow means that MS is leaving the console market. I don't believe they want to leave the console market though, just that they don't want to have to compete on the hardware side as much....because everyone, even Sony, knows that software and licensing is where the real money is made.

235d ago
gamer7804235d ago

Agreed, They might have soured relationship with Platinum which also worries me for their future games with them. Initially nier2 was in the cards for Xbox now I'm wondering it might not be.

Sciurus_vulgaris235d ago

The platforms that Nier: Automata goes to are likely controlled by Square-Enix, not platinum.

yomfweeee235d ago

You say it was a big mistake, but also admit we don't know why the cancelled it. So how do you know of it was a mistake?

trooper_235d ago (Edited 235d ago )

Scalebound could have been a strong title if Microsoft put some effort into it.

A real shame because the game looked interesting.

TXIDarkAvenger235d ago (Edited 235d ago )

Am I the only one who thinks Scalebound looked bad? Edgy Dante character + massive framerate drops didn't look promising at all. Combat was also slow as hell which doesn't play to Platinum's strength. If this ever gets picked up again, I'd rather have them restart from scratch. Microsoft really needs their games now not 10 years later.

235d ago
donthate235d ago

Phil Spencer has come through on every thing he has said so far, except for the exclusive games. I think Phil's reputation is on the line with the user base, so he is going to show is hand this E3.

It's going to be a massive E3 for MS, especially if Forza 7 reveal is happening this coming week as rumored. That must mean, MS has too much to show at E3.

Can't wait to see the monster at E3!

dmetripaulpavlin235d ago

I didn't realise that you an actual nobody when it comes to the list of people involved would or could even claim to know shit about this subject. I think the right people to trust are the people putting their own money into the project, who have seen the project behind closed doors. You on the other hand seem to think you know what's best. Oh and the look at Sony and its gracious TLG... yeah I bet that was the stellar sequel everyone was waiting for...

LastCenturyRob235d ago

YOu have no idea what was going on with the game. If things were "just slow" I doubt it would have been canceled. There were obvious some big issues. To say other developers in Japan may not work with MS now "because" of one game being cancelled is flat out ignorant. Sony cancel games to you know. Has nothing to do with any potential future deals with any studio.

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XiNatsuDragnel236d ago

Damn people at MSoft step it up.

lelo2play235d ago (Edited 235d ago )

What if Microsoft noticed that PlatinumGames had been taking money from them during 4 years for the development of Scalebound and was delivering a sub-par game? Honestly, the latest Scalebound gameplay videos shown weren't very good... everybody noticed it. Maybe that's the reason Scalebound was canceled.

I remember a lot of people (specially Sony fanboys) at the time saying that gameplay looked like crap... now those same people act surprise the game was canceled.

Oh the Hypocrisy!

OMGitzThatGuy235d ago

I kind of feel like that was the case. How could a game like Nier be finished before Scalebound when its has been in development for longer. It just seems that Platinum's focus was on Nier and SB was just a side project.

SolidGear3235d ago

I have a PS4 and I thought it looked great. Cancelling Scalebound is yet another reason I have no interest in an Xbox One.

rainslacker235d ago

It wouldn't take MS 4 years to figure that out. If it did, then MS is just incompetent.

The co-op game play looked sub-par. The SP game play was barely shown, but only complaint was the frame rate that I recall. Something that would likely get worked out during development.

Maybe if it was a sub-par game, MS should have cut funding a lot sooner, or not said that the game was coming along great a month before cancellation.

Call me crazy for being a Sony fan boy, but even I don't think that MS is so incompetent that they can't recognize that a game is poor well before 4 years is up. After two years, it should have been readily apparent, as by that time, most major game play elements would have been implemented in some way. At that point, even before really, changes could be made, and the game could have been brought up to par. That's typical for game development. Spending 4 years marketing a game heavily, only to cancel it after four is rather atypical. MS isn't so inept at recognizing poor games that they'd let it go for 4 years. Spencer himself is a skilled enough game developer to recognize these problems, and is knowledgeable enough to know when a game is beyond the point of no return. That was his job before he took over Xbox, so it's hard to believe the game would go a couple years in development hell with no action taken.

thekhurg235d ago

Hyperbole at its finest.

Kingthrash360235d ago

Why'd it take so long?
MS added MP
MS added PC
MS added scorpio
4 player online co-open isn't a cake walk. Add the fact that xbox one and the scorpio are miles apart in power....you get a horror show.

TheCommentator235d ago

Why is nobody bringing up the fact the Platinum Games director left the company shortly after denying any responsibility for the cancellation of Scalebound? Guy went F'n nuts if you ask me, just like rumors suggested, and paid for screwing over MS with his resignation.

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235d ago
RAM0N 236d ago (Edited 236d ago )

Can't believe they cancelled a open world co-op game

yarbie1000236d ago

Did you watch any of the gameplay videos? if so then it'd make a lot more sense.

Shubhendu_Singh236d ago

It'd be okay if Xbox was coming with 4 new IPs and said Scalebound which was costing them (say ~60M$) and not much returns, but daamn when you have nothing you need to have these things.

It's not called "it won't make profit so we won't release it", in terms of future investments which IS going to bite them in the ass, they should have go ahead with it even if they were just breaking even. It's called Investment.

TheCommentator235d ago

Maybe they weren't going to break even then, and could get more money back by writing the game off instead.

FallenAngel1984236d ago

The game would've flopped irregardless on Xbox One

TheCommentator235d ago

Miriam-Webster recognizes irregardless as a word. It's an informal way of saying regardless.

TheCommentator234d ago (Edited 234d ago )

Wow, all you guys have to do is look it up. I just did again, for shits and giggles, and it's true. Irregardless is a word. So is ignorance, lol.

Also, it's Merriam-Webster. I misspelled it. Sorry.

SolidGear3235d ago

All of P* games flop financially but it doesn't mean they're all bad.

Lord_Sloth235d ago

If that was true they wouldn't still be in business.

Hardiman234d ago (Edited 234d ago )

I think it would've fared better on the PS4 myself.

dkp23236d ago

so really it was a bitch move to save their ass from being canned. Probably a result of the flops such as sunset, quantum break, ryse, etc. Flops in terms of sales not how good the game is. Games don't make money, no money to invest in new games or IPs. The problems with those games that they were short and limited. They have IPs to work with int erms of rpgs and fail to use them. Instead they invest on recycling existing tech in halo, gears and forza. Forza is fine, halo is fine because those are two different genres. They need to retire gears, its done. Move along with Fable for RPG and new IPs

nativegoku235d ago

WTF are you rambling about? You literally make no sense. Smh. All you people do on here is crap about nothing all day. Like a bunch of bitter old people.