While developer Sucker Punch Productions celebrates the massive success of Ghost of Tsushima, which recently sold more than eight million copies, not everyone is reveling in the excitement. Case in point: Former Bend Studio director Jeff Ross, who used the opportunity to take a stab at Sony for how it handled the reception of the open-world zombie game, Days Gone.
Ross took to Twitter to air out some grievances, particularly regarding the sales of Days Gone and Ghost of Tsushima. See, with Days Gone having been out for approaching three years now, the game has sold more than nine million copies to date, especially with its PC release on May 18, 2021. Unfortunately, Ross said “local studio management” made Bend Studio “feel like [Days Gone] was a big disappointment,” despite the game selling well. Even before Ross left Bend Studio at the end of 2020, Days Gone wound up selling the same 8 million Ghost of Tsushima recently has.
At the time I left Sony, Days Gone had been out for a year and a half (and a month), and sold over 8 million copies. It's since gone on to sell more, and then a million+ on Steam. Local studio management always made us feel like it was a big disappointment. #daysgone #PlayStation https://t.co/KMZr2pGe9r
— Jeff Ross (@JakeRocket) January 5, 2022
Many in Ross’ mentions think the determining factor for Sony positioning Days Gone as a “big disappointment” was its score on Metacritic, a review aggregate site that collects critic and user scores from across the internet. Looking at Days Gone and Ghost of Tsushima, it’s clear the latter reviewed much better, with Ghost of Tsushima receiving a score of 83 and Days Gone a 71.
According to BenjiSales, a YouTuber who focuses on gaming industry sales, Days Gone was the best-selling PlayStation 4 exclusive on PSN in 2019. It also made the top 10 best-selling digital games of that year, despite Sony allegedly refusing to “do PR” on the game’s sales success. And even though it was a commercial success, Bloomberg reported in April 2021 that Bend Studio couldn’t get Sony to pick up a Days Gone sequel pitch.
I’ve got some ideas for why that is, having played both Days Gone and Ghost of Tsushima, but my best guess is that Days Gone just wasn’t fun. It wasn’t an enjoyable experience to sit down and play. The controls were clunky and cumbersome. Hunting resources was a chore. I enjoyed riding the motorcycle in the beautifully apocalyptic Oregon, but the novelty wore off after incessantly running out of gas. And on top of all that, Days Gone dropped in an oversaturated genre, whether that’s open-world games, zombie survival games, or both. Wrong place, wrong time.
When asked if there would ever be a Days Gone sequel, Jeff Ross reiterated one “won’t happen anytime soon” but that fans should never say never. Ross told another Twitter user that the reason the sequel pitch got canned “wasn’t ever explained well.” All will likely get covered later today when Ross appears on David Jaffe’s podcast at 7 p.m. ET.