In the start of this year, Sony has been very consistent with the quality of their games — providing lots of enjoyment and new experiences to their loyal consumers. This started with Gravity Rush 2, SIE Japan Studios’ first game of the year. It was well received by critics when it launched, especially from our contributor, Leif, who gave Gravity Rush 2 an 8.9/10 saying that he loved the game’s overall art direction and game design. GameSpot also praised its improvement from the last installment giving it a score of 9/10.
Another exclusive that also got a lot of praise was SEGA’s Yakuza 0. Initially released in Japan last 2015 on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 systems, the new Yakuza installment also got a lot of positive feedback when it launched last month in North America. Destructoid’s Peter Glagowski scored Yakuza 0 with a 9/10 stating that it’s a “stone-cold masterpiece”.
Other games like Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: The Final Chapter Prologue also got favorable reviews, however, it did not get a solid 80 average score on Metacritic. Tales of Berseria also scooped up an average score of 79 on Metacritic. DualShockers gave Tales a score of 9/10, while IGN gave it an 8.8/10.
All these games are developed by Japanese game companies, and these developers are not first-party studios except SIE Japan Studios. How about the western developers? Where are Sony’s first-party developers in the western part of the world? Guerrilla Games knocks at our doors with their masterpiece new IP — Horizon: Zero Dawn.
Guerrilla’s new open-world action-adventure RPG is the game that other platform first-party developers are up against. It’s been getting generally favored reviews — getting a perfect score from GameSpot’s former Editor-in-Chief, Jeff Gerstmann. COGConnected also gave Horizon a perfect score, and even us here in Sirus Gaming gave a perfect 10 out of 10.
Horizon and Gravity Rush 2 show how Sony supports their first-party developers to capture their imagination and what they want to show to their fans. Horizon was supposed to be released last year, Guerrilla took time to polish and add more content. Microsoft, however, is treating their third-party developers wrongly — PlatinumGames for example. Scalebound was cancelled due to some issues between Microsoft and PlatinumGames. Fable Legends was also axed, even Project Spark was flushed down the drain. Xbox is left with only few first-party studios filling their library with sequels instead of a new IP.
Sony proves to us that they know what they’re doing, and they also help their first-party studios to achieve something new successfully. Guerrilla Games is the first example of this. They stepped out from their original franchise and genre — Killzone, which is a first-person shooter game. It was a big risk especially with an ambitious post-apocalyptic setting with beast machines. The first-party studio showed their potential as a developer and that they’re not afraid to leave their comfort zone. We’re getting Days Gone from Bend Studios, The Last of Us Part II, and a whole new God Of War probably next year or the next. Sony also has Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy (which might not be an exclusive, still a speculation. And we’re reaching out to Sony for comments) are going to be released this year! Sony is killing it!
Imagine, if The Coaltion and 343 Industries step out from their main franchises and take the same risks that Guerrilla Games did, can they achieve their goals? I bet not, especially with Microsoft’s way of pressuring developers. They might even lose their first-party studios because of that. This is probably why they’re letting The Coalition and 343 still continue with their main franchises to avoid any misunderstandings which will lead to both first-party to leave the Green side.
As for Nintendo’s side, we have Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This new Zelda installment looks amazing and we’re all excited for it. The Switch will be launching around next week, March 3. With a lot of people already getting a feeling that Nintendo is doing the same mistakes they did with the Wii U, we might see another short-lived console from Nintendo — we hope not. Aside from that, Microsoft is trailing behind. Phil Spencer has been tweeting that there’s a lot of exclusives coming for Xbox One. We’ll have to wait for E3 2017 and see.
I still have hopes with Microsoft to do the right thing, but I’m amazed and very well impressed with Sony’s consistency. Great job, Sony! You make us all very proud!