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nynt9
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(01-10-2017, 05:08 AM)
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With the cancellation of Scalebound, we have the third instance this gen of Microsoft cancelling a third party game because it didn't make expectations, leaving the developer in a poor situation.

First we had Obsidian's Stormlands, which was cancelled after seven months of development, leaving Obsidian in a state of near ruin, at which point they had to lay off 30 people, go to Kickstarter, start work on a f2p game, and turn the remnants of that game into Tyranny.

Then we have the infamous Phantom Dust debacle. I'll just leave some choice quotes here:

After some heavy-duty conversations in the spring of 2014, the two companies walked away with a deal: Darkside would get a $5 million budget to build a multiplayer-only reboot of Phantom Dust, complete with a spectator mode, tournaments, and a complicated replay system allowing players to share files, according to one person familiar with the original pitch. The initial plan was to make it a competitive online sport, along the lines of Hearthstone and League of Legends. They gave it the codename Babel.

No more than a week after they’d signed the contract, according to several ex-Darkside employees, Microsoft’s team came back to the studio with a new request: they wanted a single-player campaign. “They decided that fans were gonna want a single-player game,” said a person who worked on the project. “But they weren’t going to change the budget or the timeframe.”

Suddenly, what was once a $5 million multiplayer reboot of Phantom Dust had become a $5 million multiplayer reboot of Phantom Dust with a six-hour single-player story mode attached. That meant Darkside would need more designers, more artists, and more programmers, all of which equated to extra time and money that they didn’t have. Still, employees say they were committed to pulling it off. This was their first solo project. They wanted to prove they were good enough to do it. According to one Darkside source, their tentative plan was to build a fun vertical slice—a playable and demonstrable chunk of the game—and use it to persuade Microsoft into giving them more money.

Darkside was in the very early stages of development when E3 came around in June of last year, and some at the studio say they were shocked to see Microsoft announce Phantom Dust there. They were even more shocked to see the game announced through a pre-rendered trailer that nobody at Darkside had worked on, according to studio sources. Perhaps most frustratingly for people at the studio, Microsoft wouldn’t tell anyone that Darkside was developing the game. Darkside was put on a gag order; though the game had been announced, they still couldn’t tell people they were making it. “It was very sad,” said one person on the project. “It showed a lack of confidence in us.”

Microsoft wanted a longer single-player campaign; they wanted various features added and changed; they wanted Darkside to help contribute card art to the accompanying mobile game Microsoft had planned. “This kind of focus change happened on a nearly monthly basis,” said a person who worked on the game.

“They asked for things pretty quickly,” said a second person close to the studio. “We kept telling them, ‘We cannot make this game for the budget you want.’”

In the fall of last year, another obstacle popped up: one of Microsoft’s creative directors, who Darkside sources described as integral to Phantom Dust’s success, left the company. His role was never re-filled, which hurt Darkside a lot—producers at the studio had to communicate with Microsoft’s creative team on a daily basis, and he had been one of their most important connections in Redmond.

One particularly strange moment for Darkside happened around then, when Microsoft’s Ken Lobb said on a podcast that Phantom Dust would be “about a 30-hour JRPG.” The developers were baffled. That was never part of their plan. “Nobody knew he was gonna say that,” said one Darkside staffer. “We were told by people at Microsoft that Ken just does things like that.”

The end result is that Darkside went out of business.

Then we have Scalebound, which according to several sources involved Microsoft setting very high milestones and withholding pay



And as a result a significant portion of Platinum workers are without a task, Kamiya on mental health leave, and the studio bereft of payment for a month of work.

We also have Fable Legends, though that was a first party game so not sure how that fits in here.

So, overall, if this were just one developer and one set of rumors, maybe it would be some bad apples and conjecture. But this same pattern has happened several times with them, which begs the question, is it all bad third party relations, or perhaps some sort of mismanagement from Microsoft? I don't wanna be all "doom and gloom" but can this be really attributed to a series of coincidences and bad partnerships? Even then, isn't it still on them making those partnerships?

My presumption is that Microsoft perhaps underestimated the effort it would take to get games with as-a-service multiplayer (which seems to be their big push with all the full priced titles with pay2win microtransactions) that also has a AAA grade campaign out of smaller studios with newer IPs. They tried their luck at getting these projects at a low cost, but then as management and goals changed (a lot of these projects must have started during Mattrick and Ballmer's era and shifted to Spencer and Nadella) they no longer were interested in that kind of investment for that kind of project. Presumably not wanting to back out of contracts, they just used increasingly high demands on developers to burn them out and make them drop the contracts instead, taking the damage with them. Is this an unfair characterization of the situation?

Given an attitude like this towards new AAA IP, it seems it would be difficult for them to grow new IPs in this climate without investing significantly. Perhaps this signals a change in philosophy in Microsoft?

I'd like to discuss these subjects without being bogged down by the specifics of the individual games, as there's threads for those. This seeming strategy change and possibility of mismanagement (or arguments against it) are the specific points I'd like to speculate on.
wapplew
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(01-10-2017, 05:13 AM)
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Not every partnership end sour, there are success stories like Playground Games, Moon studio and Iron Galaxy, MS help put them in the map.
Shit happens I guess.
Last edited by wapplew; 01-10-2017 at 05:16 AM.
Crayon
(01-10-2017, 05:13 AM)
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Sleep with dogs. Wake with fleas.

A thread about their 13 years of first party makes good companion reading. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=873707
Primethius
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(01-10-2017, 05:13 AM)
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I didn't even know about the Obsidian game. The Phantom Dust and Scalebound scenarios seem fairly similar from all the tweets and insider info.
Hero
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(01-10-2017, 05:15 AM)
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God, I knew it was bad for a lot of Microsoft partners but I never knew it was this bad.

Given this is all accurate information, I can't imagine supporting Microsoft anymore.
QuikNez
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(01-10-2017, 05:16 AM)
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Funny how in most peoples' minds, Microsoft is at fault.... little to no admission of a relationship and the related dynamics that could lead to conflict.... human nature my friends... I find it hard to take anyone's speculation, from a "credible" source as the truth.
UnemployedVillain
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(01-10-2017, 05:16 AM)
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Originally Posted by wapplew

Not every partnership end sour, there are success stories like Playground Games, Moon studio and Iron Galaxy, MS help put them in the map.
Shit happens I guess.

These seem to be in the minority when it comes to MS
Chuck Norris
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(01-10-2017, 05:16 AM)
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Kamiya knows how to hold a grudge. Expect it to be the last Game he does with MS
Soldiussnaku
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(01-10-2017, 05:16 AM)
It's certainly not a very good look, what with their main competitor going from strength and using near ruthless efficiency to go after third party exclusives, at least on console. In turn building close relationships with third parties.

I would imagine smaller indie devs to still do business with ms without today's debacle having much of an impact. But bigger third party devs that have much more on the line,people wise, will likely think twice about doing business with MS exclusively.
robotrock
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(01-10-2017, 05:16 AM)
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Definitely seems to be something not right here when they repeatedly pull shit like this
dmr87
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(01-10-2017, 05:17 AM)
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I hope we get some reports on the MS-PG situation.
Outrun
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(01-10-2017, 05:17 AM)
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We don't know the story yet.

It is way too easy to slate MS.

Perhaps Platinum could not get the job done? Who knows? Who is talking?
TheSpoiler
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(01-10-2017, 05:17 AM)
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Originally Posted by QuikNez

Funny how in most peoples' minds, Microsoft is at fault.... little to no admission of a relationship and the related dynamics that could lead to conflict.... human nature my friends... I find it hard to take anyone's speculation, from a "credible" source as the truth.

That credible source stuff is how Scalebound was found out to be dropped lol try again.
RiccochetJ
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(01-10-2017, 05:18 AM)
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Whomever helped draft the contract on Darkside's side was absolutely terrible at scope creep. So much so that I'm seriously wondering if the devs knew exactly what was agreed upon. This sort of thing doesn't happen unless you're completely incompetent at writing and accepting contracts.

I don't deny it happened mind you. And if it happened, MS are assholes. But christ at that type of scope creep being able to be added into the dev cycle without some massive push back or lawsuits.
Loch Doun
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(01-10-2017, 05:18 AM)
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Originally Posted by wapplew

Not every partnership end sour, there are success stories like Playground Games, Moon studio and Iron Galaxy, MS help put them in the map.
Shit happens I guess.

I'd add Double Helix/Iron Galaxy, Armature, Capcom and Insomniac to that list as well.
Outrun
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(01-10-2017, 05:19 AM)
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Originally Posted by TheSpoiler

That credible source stuff is how Scalebound was found out to be dropped lol try again.

Why doesn't he talk then, instead of dropping innuendo?
QuikNez
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(01-10-2017, 05:19 AM)
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Originally Posted by TheSpoiler

That credible source stuff is how Scalebound was found out to be dropped lol try again.

To be cliche, there are two or more sides to a story and a strong bias against Microsoft, which my point is, I choose not to subscribe to given what we know right now.
Outrun
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(01-10-2017, 05:20 AM)
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Originally Posted by Hero

God, I knew it was bad for a lot of Microsoft partners but I never knew it was this bad.

Given this is all accurate information, I can't imagine supporting Microsoft anymore.

What information do you have regarding Scalebound?

Please share.
Cyndra
Junior Member
(01-10-2017, 05:21 AM)
It does seem to be a trend with Microsoft, especially games of the AAA variety.

I'll give Microsoft credit for not being afraid to cancel games no matter how far in development they are. Fable Legends for example was held up as a major title for them, shown at multiple E3 conferences, holiday lineup ads, Windows 10 conferences, several beta periods etc. and they pulled the plug.
OrbitalBeardJr
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(01-10-2017, 05:22 AM)
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Microsoft, treating third party's like they are Yamauchi. This will end well for them..
PeterGAF
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(01-10-2017, 05:22 AM)
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Originally Posted by wapplew

Not every partnership end sour, there are success stories like Playground Games, Moon studio and Iron Galaxy, MS help put them in the map.
Shit happens I guess.

This is actually a really fair point that a lot of people seem to ignore. Would be great if MS could have more success with these third party exclusives and since there are quite a few big profile failures something probably needs to change but we shouldn't pretend that everything MS touches dies.
KingdomHeartsFan
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(01-10-2017, 05:23 AM)
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Wow I had no idea things were that bad with Phantom Dust.
Banjo-Kazooie
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(01-10-2017, 05:23 AM)
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How did they mismanage Stormlands?

I'm with you in Fable, Phantom Dust, Scalebound. But don't include Stormlands just to include it. It got cancelled during last green light meeting. That's a bit different.
robotrock
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(01-10-2017, 05:23 AM)
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Originally Posted by QuikNez

To be cliche, there are two or more sides to a story and a strong bias against Microsoft, which my point is, I choose not to subscribe to given what we know right now.

In the case of something like Phantom Dust, one side is a developer who constantly had a publisher change the scale of their game on a month to month basis on a 5 million budget, and the other side is...Microsoft, who surely could have given them a bigger budget if they wanted to drastically change a game.
Illucio
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(01-10-2017, 05:25 AM)
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Originally Posted by Chuck Norris

Kamiya knows how to hold a grudge. Expect it to be the last Game he does with MS

Kamiya is a asshole, but he's a good asshole. But yeah he is definitely going to hold a grudge, Microsoft will never be able to work with Platinum again because of this. I wouldn't be shocked if he tries to ensure no Japanese developer he's friends with to work with them.

Microsoft will live on. But this is just sad to see this canceled and the studio who made Fable close down. Nothing but First Person Shooters and driving simulators from here on out I suppose.
Hero
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(01-10-2017, 05:25 AM)
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Originally Posted by Outrun

What information do you have regarding Scalebound?

Please share.

Where did I mention information about Scalebound in my post?
AAK
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(01-10-2017, 05:26 AM)
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This isn't unique with Microsoft.

Sony did the same thing with SSM's Stig-directed new IP laying off a bunch of their talent, also with Playstation All Stars Battle Royale causing SuperBot Entertainment to leave the console industry, among many other instances.
MCD
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(01-10-2017, 05:26 AM)
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Eurogamer sources say PG senior members left for a whole month due to stress and such.

Both sides seem at fault. There is more to this story.
Jiraiza
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(01-10-2017, 05:26 AM)
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Originally Posted by QuikNez

Funny how in most peoples' minds, Microsoft is at fault.... little to no admission of a relationship and the related dynamics that could lead to conflict.... human nature my friends... I find it hard to take anyone's speculation, from a "credible" source as the truth.

Credible or not, the fact they let the games crash and burn won't change.
Dunlop
DID YOU KNOW:
TLOU invented the HD Remaster?
Also, Halo is the first FPS.
(01-10-2017, 05:26 AM)
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Originally Posted by Hero

Where did I mention information about Scalebound in my post?

You mention the tweets as "accurate information"..and the tweets were about Soulbound?
robotrock
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(01-10-2017, 05:27 AM)
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Microsoft coming directly for Obsidian and Platinum feels like a personal attack on NeoGAF
Hero
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(01-10-2017, 05:28 AM)
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Originally Posted by Dunlop

You mention the tweets as "accurate information"..and the tweets were about Soulbound?


Most of the OP is talking about the development of Phantom Dust?
D3VI0US
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(01-10-2017, 05:28 AM)
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Originally Posted by QuikNez

Funny how in most peoples' minds, Microsoft is at fault.... little to no admission of a relationship and the related dynamics that could lead to conflict.... human nature my friends... I find it hard to take anyone's speculation, from a "credible" source as the truth.

Especially considering not only how many projects Platinum takes on but they also have a very shaky track record when it comes to quality software. For every Bayonetta and Vanquish there is a Korra or TMNT. Maybe they had good reason to put it down, frankly it didn't look like anything special to me, but I'm jaded and could say that about most 1st party games from all the major platforms.

I'm skeptical but I'm not saying MS is doing a great job either. I mean even their indie relationships have been mismanaged. Last gen we get great games like Castle Crashers, Bastion, etc. and promotions like Summer of Arcade, now we get trash like Lococycle. The Ori's and Cupheads are few and far between.

It's not good enough MS, step you game up and compete cause Scorpio won't sell itself.
Atomski
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(01-10-2017, 05:30 AM)
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Isnt this the case with any big publisher who canceled a third party title?
plasmawave
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(01-10-2017, 05:30 AM)
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Originally Posted by D3VI0US

Especially considering not only how many projects Platinum takes on but they also have a very shaky track record when it comes to quality software. For every Bayonetta and Vanquish there is a Korra or TMNT. Maybe they had good reason to put it down, frankly it didn't look like anything special to me, but I'm jaded and could say that about most 1st party games from all the major platforms.

I'm skeptical but I'm not saying MS is doing a great job either. I mean even their indie relationships have been mismanaged. Last gen we get great games like Castle Crashers, Bastion, etc. and promotions like Summer of Arcade, now we get trash like Lococycle. The Ori's and Cupheads are few and far between.

It's not good enough MS, step you game up and compete cause Scorpio won't sell itself.

Shaky track record means 2 rushed Activision licensed games now? Out of how many great games??
Last edited by plasmawave; 01-10-2017 at 05:33 AM.
Razlo
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(01-10-2017, 05:31 AM)
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Those that believe a big publisher over credible dev sources always make me scratch my head. Then again, I've been at the development level and seen how some devs get treated and how unfair it is at times.
digoutyoursoul
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(01-10-2017, 05:31 AM)
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"Ken just does things like that"

Ahh right ok

FFS
cackhyena
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(01-10-2017, 05:31 AM)
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Originally Posted by robotrock

Microsoft coming directly for Obsidian and Platinum feels like a personal attack on NeoGAF

Coming for? Really?
Xer0
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(01-10-2017, 05:32 AM)
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I'd add D4 to the list. They farted the game out with no build up whatsoever. Game died hard as fuck.
Outrun
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(01-10-2017, 05:32 AM)
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Originally Posted by D3VI0US

Especially considering not only how many projects Platinum takes on but they also have a very shaky track record when it comes to quality software. For every Bayonetta and Vanquish there is a Korra or TMNT. Maybe they had good reason to put it down, frankly it didn't look like anything special to me, but I'm jaded and could say that about most 1st party games from all the major platforms.

I'm skeptical but I'm not saying MS is doing a great job either. I mean even their indie relationships have been mismanaged. Last gen we get great games like Castle Crashers, Bastion, etc. and promotions like Summer of Arcade, now we get trash like Lococycle. The Ori's and Cupheads are few and far between.

It's not good enough MS, step you game up and compete cause Scorpio won't sell itself.

RDR 2 with the best visuals will sell Scorpio. Picture the sun setting in HDR and a nice folk song playing....

SOLD.
Candescence
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(01-10-2017, 05:32 AM)
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Originally Posted by D3VI0US

Especially considering not only how many projects Platinum takes on but they also have a very shaky track record when it comes to quality software. For every Bayonetta and Vanquish there is a Korra or TMNT.

TMNT is really the only bad game Platinum has ever made, Korra simply wasn't great, and both were from the same director and were extremely low-budget, rushed efforts published by Activision. Platinum's lower-quality output is few and far between.

Scalebound was being headed by Kamiya, known for Devil May Cry, Bayonetta and Wonderful 101. He's not known for making bad games, so Scalebound having a troubled production speaks volumes.
Last edited by Candescence; 01-10-2017 at 05:34 AM.
SephLuis
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(01-10-2017, 05:32 AM)
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Any chance someone will get the scoop on this and tell us how was the PG/MS relation ?

Honestly, Platinum has been working great with Sega, Nintendo, Square-Enix and Activision as far as we know. At the very least, we never got news that things were this bad.

So I have to wonder what was different with MS which lead to this shit show.
DNAbro
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(01-10-2017, 05:33 AM)
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Originally Posted by Atomski

Isnt this the case with any big publisher who canceled a third party title?

Well yes, mismanagement causes problems. Microsoft just seems to be on a roll with mismanaging.


Originally Posted by Outrun

RDR 2 with the best visuals will sell Scorpio. Picture the sun setting in HDR and a nice folk song playing....

SOLD.

Uh huh
Mizzou Gaming
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(01-10-2017, 05:33 AM)
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Every side is going to have their story but I think MS probably reached a point where the writing was on the wall and knew this game was not going how they envisioned it.
robotrock
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(01-10-2017, 05:33 AM)
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Originally Posted by cackhyena

Coming for? Really?

sorry I can't help myself right now
120v
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(01-10-2017, 05:34 AM)
if i had to guess, sounds like general incompetence on MS' part rather than maliciously trying to upend contracts.
5taquitos
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(01-10-2017, 05:35 AM)
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Originally Posted by Outrun

RDR 2 with the best visuals will sell Scorpio. Picture the sun setting in HDR and a nice folk song playing....

SOLD.

You'll be able to use HDR with RDR 2 on literally every console it releases on, except the Xbox One.
robotrock
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(01-10-2017, 05:35 AM)
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Originally Posted by Outrun

RDR 2 with the best visuals will sell Scorpio. Picture the sun setting in HDR and a nice folk song playing....

SOLD.

think sony's paying for some of the marketing on RDR so...enjoy your parity I guess?
DVCY201
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(01-10-2017, 05:35 AM)
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Originally Posted by Candescence

TMNT is really the only bad game Platinum has ever made, Korra simply wasn't great, and both were from the same director. Platinum's lower-quality output is few and far between.

Critically I think there's more. Mad World, Anarchy Reigns, Star Fox (we can blame Miyamoto)

I love Platinum, but their output is certainly not 100% all the time. And honestly, Kamiya is an idol for me. He's allowed a dud, even if Scalebound didn't turn out well
Pez
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(01-10-2017, 05:35 AM)
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Shame on you, Phil. :(

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