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Bloomberg - "Sony’s Obsession With Blockbusters Is Stirring Unrest"


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So, slightly amazingly, this piece by Jason Schreier at Bloomberg, "Sony’s Obsession With Blockbusters Is Stirring Unrest Within PlayStation Empire" seems to have been picked up by Eurogamer as "Naughty Dog Working on TLOU remake for PS5."

 

It's an interesting piece, especially in the context of Sony having former head of Finance, Jim Ryan, running the show, having recently overseen the company's price hike for their first party games and closing down Japan Studio on the basis that they're not interested in games which aren't that popular outside of Japan.

 

Of note, Sony have shot down Bend's pitch for Days Gone 2, on the basis that despite being successful, the critical reception was mixed. It instead asked them to make a new Uncharted game, which some studio leads were so unhappy with that they left, before the remaining ones asked to be taken off the project.

 

There's more at the link.

 

I don't think it's particularly damning, but as I say, taken in the broader context of Jim's vision for Playstation, it's slightly worrying and I do find myself wondering what the state of Sony's first part output is going to look like at the end of the generation.

 

I'm also left wondering why they're bothering to remake a game that currently runs at 4K 60fps on PS5.

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This story seems a bit thin. A new studio was formed, and they were originally going to remake Uncharted, but decided to remake the Last of Us instead. Then they were used to help finish off the Last of Us 2. Now they're effectively part of Naughty Dog. At the same time, Bend's pitch for Days Gone 2 got turned down because the first game took ages to develop and got middling reviews, and are now working on a new IP.

 

The first point is partidge_shrug.gif in its purest, most unadulterated form - who gives a fuck that a team formed to remake two Naughty Dog games that have been remastered once already are now effectively part of Naughty Dog? - and the second sounds like a good outcome to me. I'd generally rather studios made new IP than sequels.

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In terms of scoops the story is a bit thin but I think Schreiers intent was to highlight the human side of things and it's ok at doing that. Other outlets ignoring that aspect and focusing on the tidbits of news sorta undoes the whole piece. 

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Yeah, the 'new game in development' news is a bit thin. This piece is more about highlighting which way Sony is seemingly going by focusing more on big established brands and studios rather then offering up a little bit of everything.

 

A shame, I've always enjoyed the more off-beat stuff from Sony. Hopefully they reconsider.

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I don't really know how well this "only interested in 3rd person cinematic blockbusters" narrative holds up to scrutiny.

 

Since the launch of PS5, we've had Sony exclusives in the shape of Miles Morales (which you would presumably include in the cinematic blockbuster group) and then Demon's Souls, Sackboy and Astrobot. The next big ones are Returnal and Ratchet & Clank. Obvs Returnal is more 3rd person than previous Housemarque games, but I'm not sure that's the same equation.

 

It's also not entirely clear that the premise (hyper-focused only on blockbusters) and the evidence (won't fund a remake of TLOU, won't approve a sequel to surprisingly successful Days Gone) really holds up either.

 

So I don't know. Sony does have an extensive track record of closing stuff down that feels like you'd want to have more time/respect/love shown. From studios to storefronts to franchises.

 

It's happy to trade in nostalgia and heritage when it suits, but not prepared to put in the hard yards to "deserve" it. You have all that fan service and love inside Astrobot, for example, but no way to play the games in the easter eggs.

 

We can't have WipEout 2097 remake because they've lost the source code etc. It's all a bit scrappy. I do hope the PlayStation eco system retains variety in terms of size and scope. Not every game needs to be Horizon Zero Dawn for sure.

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52 minutes ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

I agree with this but the scoopy bits just confirm what we could already see happening from halfway through the last generation onwards. It's not an amazing hot take to note that Sony is ever more focused on cinematic blockbusters - shutting down fan favorite studios and losing devs that people associate with the quirky and innovative games that PlayStation always excelled at, further cements that impression. Not giving a hoot about games aimed at a Japanese audience and diverting both their attention and company structure to the USA further cements that.

 

And that's just what I feel about this as a person who always enjoyed those kinds of games far more than yer Uncharteds and the like. This story highlights the human element behind the shift in Sony's vision and it's important to highlight that. And yet even here, on a relatively old people forum one of the first reactions is:

Yep.

 

Last gen PS4 was my main platform. It was no contest really, even during the "arrogant Sony" era of PS3 that console had so many must have innovative and unique games made or published by Sony. With PS4 they did everything right that the PS3 did wrong imo, and all was well. But as the generation moved on the PlayStation blockbusters started to resemble each other like Ubisoft games have started to resemble each other. And then the launch of the PS5 reminded me more of PS3 than PS4, with lots of (already extensively discussed in other threads) consumer unfriendly decisions, price increases, almost zero thought to usability in the UI, and continued focus on paid remasters while the competition offers those for free *and* I can play my gaming purchases going three generations back in improved form on the latest hardware.

 

I imagine the general reaction this Schreier piece is "who cares, give me GOD OF WAR 2 and HORIZON 2", it even seems to be the general reaction here. Trololol about Xbox all you want, but right now games like Tokyo Jungle and ICO are far more likely to drop out of their first party efforts and game pass deals, than from a successful Sony focused on The Last of Blockbusters - hence why at the moment, Xbox is again my main platform.

 

But it still saddens me that going towards we might not get many - or even any - games from Sony that are more along the likes of Tokyo Jungle. And Schreier highlights the himan element behind this course change justifies this sadness beyond "boohoo, Gerbik won't get his weird Gravity Rush games no more poor thing"

 

Eh? Not defending Sony one bit. Haven't even played any of these blockbuster games. Haven't owned a Sony console since the PS2. Primarily Xbox and PC for me.

 

Sony now are a shadow of the old Sony

 

i just don't vibe with the current MS can do no wrong thing a lot of the forum seem to have shifted over to.

 

MS haven't released anything for ages. Sony have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Microsoft have released games recently. They're only just getting over the dismantling of their first party development by the previous management for sure but they've released stuff like Gears Tactics and Flight Sim. 

 

I mostly like Sony's games but there's no denying there's a house style that it's easy to get bored of. I find a lot of their stuff prioritises cinematic flair and story over interesting gameplay which is less satisfying to me - I'd rather play Zombie Army 4 than Last of Us 3 or whatever. 

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Days Gone

Spiderman

God of War

 

Three very different games. None guaranteed to be a commercial or critical success. All developed and released by Sony. 
 

ive got no problem with their output. 

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43 minutes ago, joemul said:

Days Gone

Spiderman

God of War

 

Three very different games. None guaranteed to be a commercial or critical success. All developed and released by Sony. 
 

ive got no problem with their output. 

I mean it’s Spider-man you don’t get much more of a dead cert, and it was good, but I’d hardly call it a risk. 
 

God of War was fine but if you believed some reviewers you’d be forgiven for expecting the second coming, one of the most overrated games of last gen imo, again though hardly that diverse or risk taking falling neatly into the cinematic third person thing. 

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There’s one title in there that wasn’t a guaranteed commercial success and that was a new IP - the other two were always selling a ton on the name alone. 
 They are all also pretty much in the same genre of 3rd person open world action games - hardly pushing the boundaries of game design.

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18 minutes ago, deerokus said:

I'd rather play Zombie Army 4 than Last of Us 3 or whatever

 

I mean, this is a fine point to make, except I am playing Zombie Army 4 on my PS5 (they just put it on PS Plus) and with a next-gen lick of FPS and it's not a game MS published.

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Just now, Uncle Mike said:

 

I mean, this is a fine point to make, except I am playing Zombie Army 4 on my PS5 (they just put it on PS Plus) and with a next-gen lick of FPS and it's not a game MS published.

 

It's on Gamepass though.

 

My partner and I have decided to hold off on buying the next console right now but if / when Final Fantasy Remake gets released for the new X-Box we'll probably switch over to that.

 

Gamepass just gives you more variety and Sony doesn't seem to give a toss about their old games anymore. If they don't want to be invested in their entire catalogue like Microsoft seem to then why should I?

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Can we try not to make this a console wars thread?  I don't see any value in making this a Sony Vs MS topic. 

 

 

The stuff in the article about relatively senior people leaving Sony run studios as a result of the focus on blockbusters is maybe a little concerning but I don't know how often that sort of thing happens throughout the industry. Maybe the leads at Bend would have left anyway. Getting a big game on your CV and then going elsewhere is hardly unprecedented. 

 

 

 

 

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It's why Returnal is an interesting one. It's a new IP - the first AAA roguelite to my knowledge - it has an unconventional protagonist, is very mechanics driven and it has a non-linear narrative that doesn't interrupt gameplay. It's third-person, sure, but it's different and it even has those P.T. style first-person house sequences. I know more about the narrative and it's deliciously weird.

 

Of course Sony's pricing strategy could bite Housemarque in the ass, but I'm glad they funded it at least.

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I think this is a poor article. The headline doesn't match the actual events detailed within and the entire thing feels like it was ghost written by Michael Mumbauer as an airing of grievances. We aren't talking about work place abuses here, just (dicey sounding) projects that didn't pan out.

 

As for the supposed thrust of the article, I don't think it holds up to much scrutiny. If Sony were truly only interested in blockbusters I don't think they'd be continuing to invest in Media Molecule, and they definitely wouldn't be taking another shot at VR. It's fair to say they aren't putting out the diverse range of smaller titles they were doing in the PS3 era, but that's an industry-wide trend that's seen independent studios pick up the slack; the PS5 was announced alongside games like Bugsnax and Stray, meaning they presumably have something of a Sony-money safety net. I think we have more games of that ilk than ever, they just aren't necessarily made in-house at a large publisher.

 

On a related note, you have the lazy "Sony house style" dig seemingly parroted ad infinitum. I don't understand how this persists when it necessitates:

  1. Putting a bunch of disparate games – like God of WarSpider-Man and Returnal – into the same bucket.
  2. Ignoring/minimising anything that can't possibly be crammed into the above, like Dreams, Astro's, Destruction AllStarsRatchet, etc.

If there's distinctive commonality amongst Sony's titles I'd say it's production values. Which makes a lot of sense, as they've had great success putting out polished, expensive games. It's also something very few companies are in a position to be able to do, with even fewer having any interest in doing so; EA and Activision, that's aimed at you.

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1 minute ago, Ferine said:

I think this is a poor article. The headline doesn't match the actual events detailed within and the entire thing feels like it was ghost written by Michael Mumbauer as an airing of grievances. We aren't talking about work place abuses here, just (dicey sounding) projects that didn't pan out.

 

As for the supposed thrust of the article, I don't think it holds up to much scrutiny. If Sony were truly only interested in blockbusters I don't think they'd be continuing to invest in Media Molecule, and they definitely wouldn't be taking another shot at VR. It's fair to say they aren't putting out the diverse range of smaller titles they were doing in the PS3 era, but that's an industry-wide trend that's seen independent studios pick up the slack; the PS5 was announced alongside games like Bugsnax and Stray, meaning they presumably have something of a Sony-money safety net. I think we have more games of that ilk than ever, they just aren't necessarily made in-house at a large publisher.

 

On a related note, you have the lazy "Sony house style" dig seemingly parroted ad infinitum. I don't understand how this persists when it necessitates:

  1. Putting a bunch of disparate games – like God of WarSpider-Man and Returnal – into the same bucket.
  2. Ignoring/minimising anything that can't possibly be crammed into the above, like Dreams, Astro's, Destruction AllStarsRatchet, etc.

If there's distinctive commonality amongst Sony's titles I'd say it's production values. Which makes a lot of sense, as they've had great success putting out polished, expensive games. It's also something very few companies are in a position to be able to do, with even fewer having any interest in doing so; EA and Activision, that's aimed at you.

 

Yeah, it's definitely a bit short-sighted to say Sony is risk-averse when they are doubling down on VR, which isn't blockbuster in any way.

 

While blockbusters are their bread and butter, they launched their console with games that are pretty much the opposite of cinematic or open world (Miles aside) sad dad games, like Astro Bot, Sackboy and Demon's Souls, followed by Destruction All-Stars. Their next two games are a AAA roguelite with cryptic storytelling and a cartoony platform shooter and they are investing heavily in Media Molecule, not exactly known for cinematic blockbusters either. Same with Asobi and Pixel Opus.

 

I do find it sad that Sony Japan is basically gone, but on the other hand: look up threads on say Puppeteer or Gravity Rush (2) on here. Very few people seemed interested in them and that's on an enthusiast forum.

 

I'm really not interested in a Last of Us remake though. That seems pretty pointless to me, but perhaps I'm all wrong and it will sell gangbusters. But it seems a waste of ND's time at this point.

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1 hour ago, Wiper said:

 

Ah yes, the three genres: Sad Chad Whacks Bads, Angsty Kid Whacks Bads, and Angry Dad Whacks Bads. And let's not forget some of their other big-name, diverse games of the past generation — Cheeky Cad Whacks Bads, Angry Sad Dad Whacks Bads (that one followed by Angry Sad Dad's Angry Sad Daughter Whacks Bads), and Angry Samurai Whacks Bads. Artistic range, that is.

 

(You could also add 'third-person', 'action adventure' and 'cinematic'* to all of those, of course)

 

* possibly scrap 'cinematic' from Days Gone at least, thought I feel that's more down to execution than intent.

 

 You're a genius. Why not take this incredible line of thought to the Nintendo thread? "Moustachioed prick jumps on things". Brilliant.

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What I don't get if the rumour is true....why remake The Last of Us? The PS4 remaster is perfectly fine. Much better to do a remake of Ico, the only one of the three Japan Studios games of that series not playable on modern hardware.

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27 minutes ago, Chadruharazzeb said:

 

 You're a genius. Why not take this incredible line of thought to the Nintendo thread? "Moustachioed prick jumps on things". Brilliant.

 

Italian stereotype jumping man, pink blob jumping man, occasionally racially iffy jumping monkey man,

 toadstool jumping man, extremely Caucasian jumpy fighting game, extremely Caucasian stretchy fighting game.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Chadruharazzeb said:

 

 You're a genius. Why not take this incredible line of thought to the Nintendo thread? "Moustachioed prick jumps on things". Brilliant.

 

I mean, I would, but nobody in that thread has recently made the intriguing decision to illustrate Nintendo's range and creativity by citing New Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and Kirby Star Allies as their examples. Like emphasising Disney's wild creativity by picking out Avengers Assemble, The Force Awakens and Pirates of the Caribbean.

 

(I'm sure the Nintendo fans of the forum will definitely accept that I'm one of the biggest apologists for Big N, of course. Famously love Mario and Zelda games, I do)

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