Days Gone Was A ‘Disappointment’ To Sony Despite Selling Millions, Director Says

Days Gone Was A ‘Disappointment’ To Sony Despite Selling Millions, Director Says
Maybe a Days Gone sequel would have improved upon its myriad flaws. (Image: Sony Bend Studio)

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.

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.

Read More: Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut’s Iki Island Expansion Is Just Fine

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.

Read More: Days Gone Mod Makes Zombie Hordes Ludicrously Large

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.

 

Comments

  • As someone who played Days Gone, I also regarded it as a disappointment.

    While the sales numbers may be comparable to Ghost of Tsushima in terms of units, I suspect there is probably a significant difference in dollars. Days Gone saw some very heavy discounting, while GoT has not seen anywhere near the same level of price cuts (I think the best I’ve seen on PS Store has been 25% off).

    • As someone who played Days Gone, I regard it as being quite good.

      It was definitely FAR better than the absolutely insane dunking it got in numerous articles/reviews from ‘professional gaming journalists’.

  • The gaming media absolutely dropped the ball on Days Gone too.
    It was far from perfect but when I sat down to play it off the PS Classics I was shocked to find the game was far different to what the media had portrayed it as and I was far from the only one.
    I’m not talking something as innocent as different opinions on certain elements, I’m talking an absolutely dishonest framing of a title that appears to have stemmed from that ridiculous evil monopoly narrative folks got sucked in to.
    A few of them had a ridiculous eye rolling reaction to, and I’m not exaggerating here, Sony releasing another exclusive title they funded themselves, like it was some kind of unwelcome micro-transaction filled with malice.

    I really hope Sony realises there’s a genuine market, I’m keen for another.
    (At least to see where it was all going)

  • I mean releasing a modern game with an openly sexist protagonist isn’t a good look, and the article is right in that it became quite repetitive and samey. The best part was the motorcycle.

    • Where was Deacon sexist?
      I know about the wedding scene but the context for that is known.
      The Rikki relationship fell a bit on an old tropes but it’s a tough sell for sexism.
      I suppose his personal code did come off as a bit white knighty in a few scenes but that was just bad writing.

  • Does that suggest that the metric for success and failure of a Sony exclusive isn’t limited to units sold? I mean the point of a Sony first party game is to sell systems, and through that sell the ecosystem and the subscription and such (XBox seem to be fine with skipping straight to the ecosystem part). Days Gone wasn’t adding to anyone’s “reasons I need a Playstation” list so the resources that might be spent on a sequel are better used on a new IP that might.

    • The focus is software sales but there’s diminishing returns over time so the bean counters like launch sales where your getting your maximum profit.
      Factor in your bad scores and media profile and sequels become unappealing for the decisions makers because your starting on the back foot.

  • I really enjoyed the game. The hoardes were epic and amazing fun to fight.

    It took me a while to get into but it’s worth it. I’m disappointed there’s no dlc or sequel.

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