During a behind-closed-doors presentation at Gamescom, PlatinumGames’ Hideki Kamiya and J.P. Kellams explained how dragons work in the upcoming Scalebound, revealing the Dragon Link feature and more.
There are three different body types for the dragon, the two-legged Rex, a four-legged tank-type dragon, that is slower but can deal lots of damage, and the Wyvern that is specialized in aerial attacks, but he’s bad on the ground and he isn’t as strong.
You aren’t limited to choosing between them, as they’re connected in an evolutionary circle. You can pick a Rex type and make him more like a tank picking the best parts of both types. Alternatively, you could make a wyvern-type closer to Rez.
You could do this at a Dragon Shrine (of which there are several in the game’s world) by spending gems gained by defeating enemies.
Once you found the morph that fits your playstyle the best, you’ll be able to buff him further with “parts” that increase the dragon’s attack power.
These parts fit in five different slots on your dragon, and they show in Berserker mode. They can buff fire attacks, ice attacks and more. They stay on your dragon at all times. You can change them, but they actually change the DNA of the drgon.
Once you have your buffed base, you can add defensive armor. While morphs and part are bought with gems, armor is purchased with money that Drew gathers by completing quests, defeating human enemies, and opening chests.
Armor on the same five areas of the dragon’s body as parts, but they’re more defensive. They can also be damaged or destroyed, and need to repair them or buy new pieces.
Through the long span of playing the game, the goal of the system is to provide the perfect dragon for each player. There are an “insane number” of possible combinations, so when you play multiplayer changes are that everyone will have a different dragon.
When you fight, you can let your dragon Thuban be controlled completely by the AI if you so want, but Drew and Thuban are bound together by a special energy. By controlling that energy you can take direct control of the dragon.
You don’t do that by having the camera swing behind the dragon: you control him through Drew, so it remains from Drew’s perspective.
This system, called “Dragon Link” allows you to create an opening with one of the two, and attack immediately with the other. This is where Platinum games’ traditional stylish action can be found.
You can bounce an enemy between Drew and Thuban to create some really stylish combos.
When Dragon Link is activated (qhich can be done quickly at a press of a button), drew has to remain motionless, so it needs to be used tactically and situationally, because utilizing it recklessly can get Drew killed.
You acquire Dragon Linking as Drew learns that he is bound to Thuban. At the beginning it’s very basic, but as you customize Thuban, and drew learns more skills, the range of actions possible will expand, enhancig Dragon Linking.
Incidentally, we learn that Thuban is actually quite young in dragon terms. Him and Drew have a similar mental ages, so they actually interact and clash with a dynamic that reflects their youth.