Days Gone director, Jeff Ross revealed even though the 2019 game sold more than Ghost of Tsushima, PlayStation viewed it as a “big disappointment.”
The reveal from Ross was in response to Ghost of Tsushima’s recent 8 million milestone which sold around the same number as Days Gone in the same time frame. The difference between the two games is how PlayStation internally views an IP, as it’s not solely about sales for PlayStation but sales plus good reception. Days Gone currently has a 71 on PS4 and a 76 on PC on Metacritic, a review aggregate site, while Ghost of Tsushima has an 83.
“At the time I left Sony [December 2020], Days Gone had been out for a year and a half (and a month), and sold over 8 million copies,” Ross said on Twitter in response to Ghost of Tsushima’s latest 8 million sale milestone.
“It’s gone on to sell more, and then a million+ on Steam. Local studio management always made us feel like it was a big disappointment.”
Ross adds that development on the title was a long slog for a small team of 100 developers. A fan asked Ross if the rumours of a sequel pitch being turned down had any merit, to which he replied that the team was planning to build on top of the foundation of the original game in “a kick-ass sequel”.
When it was released, Ross said the game’s critical reception played an important factor, which Ross said the Press in how current PlayStation management viewed the game. One problem with the game was the PR in how they marketed it as AAA game when Days Gone is clearly a AA developed by a small studio, compared to PlayStation’s bigger internal studios. When the game launched, players dealt with bugs, broken mechanics and at points was unplayable. Over time these were fixed and the game is the best it has ever been but PlayStation still won’t acknowledge even when it does good in sales.
“Days Gone was the best selling PS4 exclusive on PSN in 2019 and also made Top 10 best selling digital games of the year,” video game sales and business analyst, Benji-Sales joked on Twitter in January 2020.
“Sony won’t do PR on the sales success of the game, but I’ll keep pointing it out for them.”
A fan asked if management shakeup played a factor who gave an honest replay that things were great under Shawn Layden’s leadership, who was Sony Bend’s biggest advocate. When asked if things got better with new management, Ross gave a simple ‘No’ but adds later he isn’t sure if current Sony Bend employees are happy with management.
“Always thought it was an ambitious and impressive title. The HORDES! It was a real privilege to be there on Launch Day. Will not forget,” Shawan Layden in response to Ross’ tweet.
With so much known about the fallout of the failed Days Gone 2 pitch, it’s a question if we’ll ever hear the other side of the story or if Days Gone 2 will ever exist. Franchises become what they are thanks to the belief from management, Uncharted doesn’t become what it is until Naughty Dog killed it in a sequel in Uncharted 2: Honor Among Thieves. Ross argued that very much as Killzone initially got a 70 on Metacritic and came back in a much better sequel at 91. It’s a shame that Days Gone and Sony Bend at this point won’t get that redemption story they deserve.