gamescom 2015: Scalebound is Proof That Everything’s Better with Dragons

Every so often, a game comes around that makes us go “Oh snap, I want to play that right freaking now.” Scalebound is definitely one of those games. And while we have to be patient for its 2016 release, we are totally soaking up every tidbit we can while we’re here at gamescom 2015. Scalebound isn’t like any action-role-playing game you’ve ever seen before; developer PlatinumGames has taken nearly every subgenre of RPG and combined them into a massive, amazing tale of companionship and triumph.

In Scalebound, you play as Drew – a human from our world who has been transported to Draconis, a land full of monsters. Draconis is controlled by pulse energy (we’ll get to that), and covered in giant twisting trees and floating islands. The game centers around both Drew and his dragon companion Thuban, and they fight together as a team. While Drew is entirely player-controlled, Thuban is an A.I.-controlled companion. While he can be guided toward enemies or obstacles, he largely acts on his own.

Scalebound is a very different game than what you might expect; your dragon companion Thuban isn’t a pet, or a sidekick, or even an equal. He is your better. He is stronger than you, he knows more about this world and its monsters, and he knows it. You have to work WITH him in the game if you want to succeed.

In the demo we got to see, Drew and Thuban teamed up to take out a series of knights, and then a giant mantis creature. The dragon made quick work of the smattering of knights, but the mantis held its own. This is where Drew and Thuban teamed up. Drew can help in a variety of ways, mostly using his weapon; in addition to his weapon, Drew can harness the Pulse Energy in the world to fire concussive blasts, or even summon his Dragon Form.

With Dragon Form, Drew was able to transform into a stronger, faster form, and use his strength to chop off a mantis limb – helping to render the beast immobile. From there, Thuban unleashed his fiery breath to deliver the final blow.

You can totally use your dragon to wreck every fool monster that you see… but the thing about Scalebound is that you need to work together to get stronger. If Thuban disintegrates his foes, then you can’t harvest them for gems – and you need gems to upgrade and customize your dragon with different body parts, armor, skins, elemental attacks, and other things. In Scalebound, the dragon is your entire customizable party, and you decide how he fights.

There’s so much more about Scalebound to get excited about. In the trailer, Drew puts on a pair of headphones that play a Prodigy track, and we’re told that the music Drew has on-hand is not only awesome for battles, but important to him as a character. PlatinumGames also announced a four-player co-op mode at the show, but details are still under wraps for now.

Scalebound is one of the Xbox One games we’re most excited about. If the notion of giant monsters, a powerful dragon buddy, and a massive magic-filled world appeal to you, then Scalebound is the perfect game to hit those notes. We can’t wait to see what else PlatinumGames has in store for Scalebound.