Microsoft has now officially cancelled Scalebound, Platinum’s action RPG that had been a staple of its E3 presentations since 2014. One of very few Xbox One exclusives on the horizon, the game was scheduled to release in 2017 amidst a seemingly barren year for the console, padding out its lineup until the launch of the Xbox One Scorpio in Q4. However, Microsoft bringing an end to its development now places a bigger spotlight upon just how little the Xbox One has in store for gamers in the near future.
Microsoft has now rolled out all but a few of the heaviest hitters that it has announced over the past few years. E3 2014 was one of the company’s most successful appearances at the expo ever, with it featuring a plethora of new games debuted in an attempt to catch up with Sony’s runaway PS4 sales, but looking back at the event reveals a selection of titles that have either yet to make their way to market, or have been unceremoniously canned.
In the past few years we’ve seen the closure of Microsoft’s first-party developer Lionhead Studios, a decision which brought with it the cancellation of Fable Legends, while games such as Crackdown 3 and Sea of Thieves have yet to be given definite release dates outside of their broad 2017 launch windows. Then there’s the Phantom Dust Remake, which was put on hold after its developer Darkside was shut down, with a separate re-release appearing in its place instead. This makes the Xbox One’s lineup for the year shaky to say the least, with Halo Wars 2 being the console’s only major exclusive that has a release date locked in.
In Microsoft’s defense, the Xbox One Scorpio is set to be released during the 2017 Holiday period and, as a result, it could be keeping a few games up its sleeve to coincide with the release of the console. The PS4 Pro has suffered from a lack of games to sell its 4K capabilities, and Microsoft could be looking to avoid making this same mistake by withholding a few games to launch alongside the Scorpio. However, this still doesn’t detract from just how quiet 2017 is shaping up to be for the Xbox One in its current guise, with there being very little reason to plump down the cash for either the original Xbox One or the Xbox One S if you haven’t done so already.
The console’s 2017 lineup is even more disappointing when you compare it to what Sony has in store for this year with the PS4. Persona 5, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata, Gravity Rush 2 and Yakuza 0 are all releasing within the next four months, while the likes of the Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy, Gran Turismo Sport, Nidhogg 2, Ni no Kuni II and Shenmue III rank among the exclusive games to round out its jam-packed year. Microsoft may well throw its full weight behind the Scorpio, but to seemingly gift Sony an entire year in the run-up to its launch will surely stand to harm the Xbox brand, and will push those who are in the market to buy a new console towards the PS4.
Hopefully Microsoft’s Xbox One Scorpio lineup will impress us more than its 2017 release calendar, but either way it’s certainly not ideal for those who currently own an Xbox One. It’s understandable that Microsoft will invest heavily in its mid-generation console, but if it’s at the expense of the Xbox One’s established player base, then expect to hear many more criticisms of it as the year rolls on.