Xbox One, PS4 / Scalebound Or BloodBorne - Games Weekly

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Xbox One, PS4 / Scalebound Or BloodBorne

Console exclusives Can often be the deciding factor in picking between new hardware. but for those who love the best in Japanese  output, the decision Just got a whole lot tougher…

As Microsoft proved last year, making a big announcement just before your opponent can be a tricky business. if you show something that resonates positively with the audience and is tough to beat, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about. but if you seriously drop the ball with a presentation that’s underwhelming at best or riot-worthy at worst, you leave the door wide open for your opponent to show you up. and that’s exactly what happened with last year’s xbox one fiasco. it’s a mistake
that the american powerhouse couldn’t afford to repeat, so when it found itself shooting first again at this year’s e3 it wasn’t taking any chances.

for the most part, the Microsoft e3 2014 press conference was focused on western studios. we got to see where sledgehammer games is taking the next Call of duty. we got a sneak peek at the new dragon age. and we got more than just a fleeting glimpse at the eagerly anticipated Witcher III.

 “BloodBorne’ s gameplay is a more fiendish tease than platinum games conceptual trailer. scaleBound could amount to anything…”

it was a solid showing that helped mitigate the game shortage that all consoles face during their first year and yet, as enticing as all these trailers and gameplay demonstrations were, one announcement stood out as the most unexpected. it wasn’t the revival of the Crackdown series or the next tomb raider, it was an exclusive deal with platinum games.

as the phoenix that rose from Clover studio and the mastermind behind Bayonetta, Vanquish and The Wonderful 101, Platinum Games is arguably the hottest property in Japanese game development. Its worst games come across as creative experiments with a few minor flaws while its best games fuse original ideas with eye-watering style in a way that few studios can hope to match. So even though the announcement of Scalebound was limited to a two-minute trailer that focused on a headphone-wearing warrior and his fire-breathing ally, it felt like Microsoft was intent on delivering a crystal clear message: the Xbox One isn’t just for Western gamers and Sony won’t have the monopoly on Japanese output.

Considering the PlayStation 4’s considerable lead in hardware sales, this was a smart and much needed move by Microsoft. Not only did it secure the services of one of the most respected studios in the industry, it also got Hideki Kamiya to direct the project. If you don’t recognise the name then we urge you to conduct a quick Google search as this man has directed everything from Resident Evil 2 to Bayonetta. As sound as the pedigree is, though, we still know next to nothing about the kind of game that Scalebound will be; all we can do is watch the trailer on repeat and let our imaginations run wild.

 “The Titanic insect and nine-headed hydra That feature in The Trailer suggest That big game will be The primary focus”

If we had to hazard a guess, we’d speculate that Scalebound will be Platinum Games’ own take on the Monster Hunter formula. The titanic insect and nine-headed hydra that feature in the trailer suggest that big game will be the primary focus. There also seems to be some kind of Dragon Heart style relationship between the headphone hunter and his reptilian pal. The hunter can morph into a suit of dragon skin armour, seemingly at will, and the way the dragon interacts with him
suggests that it’s more than a tamed beast. Not only that, the closing moments of the trailer hint at some kind of co-operative element as three other dragon riders join the fight against the hydra.

It’s not much to go on, admittedly, but its exclusivity could steer fans of Japanese games towards the Xbox One. That was certainly what Microsoft intended but, not long after the curtain had closed on its Xbox showcase, Sony countered with a press conference that featured its own Japanese exclusive of equal potential. We’re not talking about the free-to-play hack-and-slasher that Grasshopper Manufacture is crafting with the Unreal 4 Engine, we’re talking the only Japanese studio that can be
mentioned in the same sentence as Platinum Games without sounding like a runner-up: the one and only From Software.

There was a time when From Software was known in the West for little more than the (admittedly awesome) Armored Core series of mecha games but, ever since Dark Souls built upon the foundation of Demon’s Souls by captivating the minds of masochistic gamers everywhere, the studio can do no wrong. So when Sony unveiled Bloodborne, an entirely new IP that seems to combine the essence of
Dark Souls with a Victorian horror setting, the applause that followed was arguably the loudest on the day. And with Hidetaka Miyazaki back  in the director’s seat after taking a far less hands-on approach for Dark Souls II, this game really can’t come soon enough.


As things stand, Bloodborne is pencilled in for some time in 2015. That’s more specific than Scalebound, which doesn’t have a year to its name as of yet, but it’s clear that both games are far from finished. Even so, we’re willing to bet our collection of fashionable hats that Bloodborne will be the first exclusive on the scene. Unlike Platinum, From Software attended E3 with some gameplay demonstrations and a few snippets about Bloodborne’s story. We know that the game takes place in Yharnam and that this ancient city was once the source of a powerful medicine and attracted many travellers. But following some kind of malicious curse, the streets ran rife with disease, death and decay.

The fact that From Software has gone with a dystopian setting shouldn’t surprise anyone. The studio has turned its own brand of nightmare creatures and oppressive architecture into an art form, and if anything Bloodborne looks even more horrific than its progenitor. The central combat, on the other hand, seems more proactive than reactive. We haven’t seen hide nor hair of a shield and the central character while no Son of Sparda can move and dodge with considerable pace. Furthermore, the weapons appear to be interchangeable and include a far reaching axe, an antique shotgun that’s only effective at point blank range and a collapsible scythe that looks like something Gillette might make if it changed its slogan to “The Best a Minotaur Can Get”.

In some ways, the sneak peek From Software has given us into Bloodborne’s gameplay is a more fiendish tease than Platinum Games’ conceptual trailer. Scalebound could amount to anything, be it an innovative hack and slasher or something more ambitious, but Bloodborne is clearly a compelling spin on something we already know and love. This presents a tricky dilemma; do you bank on the
credentials of From Software by sticking a PlayStation 4 under the TV perhaps coupled with a Wii U to get your Platinum Games fix from the forthcoming Bayonetta 2 or do you take a gamble on the less tangible Scalebound? It could be that the only agreeable solution is to buy both consoles. At least you’ll have plenty of time to save up…

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