Sony has been receiving a lot of attention lately with regards to their apparent realignment of focus on production and releases. Over the past few months, small news bits have been coming out that Sony does not seem to care about any type of development past their already established critically acclaimed blockbusters. The PlayStation 5 is barely 5 months old, but this narrative keeps getting louder as the days march on. But what is the real deal?
A recent article from Bloomberg tries to shine the spotlight on to the fact that Sony is
throwing all of their talent by the wayside just so they can keep chugging along with titles like God of War, The Last of Us, and Uncharted, but a deeper look into that article reveals Schreier’s true focus was writing about the people and talent departures from Sony, and not so much the diversity of Sony’s games portfolio. It’s a shame because he tries to reel us in by suggesting that Sony and the PlayStation brand are in trouble.
Here is really what the Schreier genuinely wanted to say: “Sony is obsessed with blockbusters and no longer wants to take risks on new IPs.”
If that’s the case, why did we see games like Ghost of Tsushima, Dreams, and Concrete Genie get published on Sony’s platform? Those were games that had some real diversity and were not attached to any previous long-standing IP. PSVR also sees diversity with new titles announced like Blood & Truth and Runner. We have the upcoming Returnal, a new and fresh IP from an in-house Sony studio, slated to come out in the Year One launch window of the PS5. So, what’s all the anxiety really about?
Could it be that the community is distraught about “sequel and remake fatigue”? Possibly.
At the heart of Schreier’s piece is the idea that Sony diverted resources to a remake of The Last of Us, but the telling of that story is misleading. The TL;DR you need to know is that an in-house studio pitched creating a remake of The Last of Us (for PlayStation 5) to Sony higher-ups to get their foot in the door to create their own brand-new IP, but unfortunately deadlines killed the plan to move forward with the studio’s new fledgling project. Sony would put the remake project of The Last of Us into the hands of its original creator, Naughty Dog, and members of that dev studio (which never received a studio name) eventually walked away from Sony.
I have a theory for why it looks like Sony is trimming some of their most precious fat and making the gaming community so anxious in the process. The recent “soft closing” of Japan Studios took the gaming community by surprise, and was the catalyst for how we arrived at this point between Sony, the gamers, and the journalists. To see a longstanding studio such as Japan Studios get shuttered after almost three decades of giving us games such as Gravity Rush, The Last Guardian, and Tokyo Jungle leaves us only with titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man (and Miles Morales), Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Horizon Forbidden West, and God of War 2: Ragnarok to look forward to. It looks like there is a paradigm shift — or should I say a “Western shift” — happening with the Japanese gaming giant.
People are forgetting that the PlayStation 5 is a reality now. We are looking at a new flagship console that is currently in its launch year for Sony. I would like to point out that the most critical time for a gaming company in Sony’s position is the first year of a new hardware launch. That means Sony needs to generate money. How can it do that? On the strength of its library.
So yes, we would be crazy to not think that we’d see familiar names in their lineup. Games such as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Gran Turismo 7, Horizon Forbidden West, and God of War 2: Ragnarok are initially slated for release during the PS5 Year One round-up, and this lineup was designed that way to give the PS5 the recognition needed to get people to go to the stores and get a console in their homes.
If there is anything we know about Sony and its “brand,” it’s that we know “the games will come”. Why? It’s simple. Because their competition does it too.
Nintendo rolls out their heavy hitters in Year One. Microsoft (normally) does so, too. And before we get started, I am not going to discount Microsoft at the current moment considering how lacking the Xbox Series lineup is at this moment over 5 months post-launch. Then, after the dust of the new console launch settles, that is when we start to see the roll out of titles that afford Microsoft, Nintendo, and even Sony the pedigrees that they have all earned and deserved over the decades.
I will end it with this: Diversity in video games is important to the gaming community and Sony has blazed many trails with their catalog, but how bizarre would it be if there were a lack of first-party titles in a Sony launch window (like what Microsoft is currently experiencing)? I can assure you that many consumers, journalists, and critics would all be signaling alarms saying that Sony and PlayStation are doomed because of the lack of AAA titles.
LeRon Dawkins is a staff writer and content creator at Boss Rush Network. You can find him on Twitter to talk about gaming, computers, Monster Hunter, and Star Trek.