Sony has been killing it this generation, with an almost unprecedented lineup of first-party games. With the likes of Horizon: Zero Dawn, God of War, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Detroit: Become Human, and Persona 5, it’s clear Sony is in a good place. The company’s upcoming games look promising, too, most notably including The Last of Us Part II, among many others. They seem to have set a standard for themselves that forces every project to be nothing short of great, causing stumbles like The Order 1886 to stand out like a sore thumb.
Although we have every reason to trust Sony, the upcoming Sony Bend game, Days Gone has me worried; partly because not much has been shown outside of gameplay and it’s due out in 7 months. When compared to other PlayStation exclusives, there is an expectation that may not be met with Days Gone.
A few things come to mind when assessing Days Gone’s upcoming reception. For one, zombies have been overdone for the past ten years spanning from various games across multiple console generations. Despite there being dozens of excellent zombie experiences, the theme has been done so much that even the good ones have become tiresome. It just seems odd to get excited about zombies in 2019.
I know what you may be thinking: “The Last of Us Part II is a zombie game.” Sure, but the foundation of what makes it so impactful isn’t necessarily because of the zombies. The Last of Us is one of the best examples of character development done right in a video game. It’s possible that Days Gone will be like that, too, but from what we’ve seen, the characters don’t have anywhere near the personality of Joel and Ellie. The main lead of Days Gone has this manly, stereotypical aura that when combined with zombies, could be forgotten shortly after launch. I know that’s assuming a lot, but all I can do is make assessments from what I’ve seen.
The open world could cause issues, as well, especially when trying to tell a meaningful story. I’m not saying it can’t be done; after all, Horizon: Zero Dawn was praised for its open world and story; But again, those characters and that setting were captivating and unique. How many other robot dinosaur games have you seen in a POST post-apocalyptic world? Days Gone seems to be a step backwards. It may be unfair to compare it to other similar games, but how can we not? These projects aren’t developed in a vacuum and it’s not unreasonable to look at other similar experiences when evaluating them, critically.
Days Gone was also absent from E3, which may be telling. It doesn’t inherently mean there’s a problem, but with it being so close to launch, one would think there would be more to show. Just look at the other major first party games; The marketing for Insomniac’s Spider-Man, Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima, and even Kojima’s Death Stranding have been quite extensive, despite most of those launching way later than Days Gone.
Why is that? Why is there a bigger focus and marketing push for games that are not to be released for years, and all have development teams with a more established pedigree than with Days Gone? Remember, the last Sony Bend game was the Vita exclusive, Uncharted: Golden Abyss. I don’t have anything bad to say about Golden Abyss, but you have to admit, it’s quite a jump from that to what it appears Days Gone is going to be.
With that in mind, it’s tough to believe that Golden Abyss sold well enough to warrant a huge AAA open world game like Days Gone. I’m sure Sony is tossing Bend the funds to keep the project in motion, but I’ve got to think that maybe if it’s not coming together well, Sony may be reluctant to keep funding it. This is all speculation, but based on what I’ve seen, I feel like I have enough information to make an educated assessment.
It was wise to push back the release from Fall of 2018 to February 2019, but with the crowded February 22nd date, Days Gone may still be in trouble; Metro: Exodus, Anthem, and Crackdown 3 all release that same day. Because Days Gone is a new IP, it might be a tough sell even with a release date all to itself, so this does not bode well for Bend. Maybe Sony realized it wouldn’t be worth it to keep pumping money into the project, and just decided to bite the bullet and get it out the door.
On that note, it’s possible that Sony may even close down the studio if Days Gone underperforms. We’ve seen it multiple times, like with Evolution (Driveclub) and Sony Liverpool (WipeOut), plus many more. Sony is a business and at the end of the day, money will be a driving force.
I don’t want to be accused of being a Negative Nancy, and I never want to see a studio fail; But there are a lot of troubling instances that make it hard to be optimistic about Days Gone, even with Sony’s recent track record. My hope is that all of what I just wrote will be proven wrong and that Days Gone will be on par with the other Sony first-party games. However, my fear is that it will underperform and May result in the closure of Sony Bend. Either way, let us know what you think of Days Gone and whether or not you think it will perform well! And remember to stay savvy!