The director of Days Gone, Jeff Ross, says that, despite the game being a sales success, he and his team were made to feel that it was a disappointment.
He explains on Twitter that, by the time he left Sony, Days Gone had been out for just over a year and a half, and had managed to push more than eight million sales. Since then, it's sold a further million thanks to its release on PC via Steam.
"Local studio management always made us feel like it was a big disappointment," says Ross, while agreeing with a reply saying it's weird that Sony never agreed to a sequel (opens in new tab).
At the time I left Sony, Days Gone had been out for a year and a half (and a month), and sold over 8 million copies. It's since gone on to sell more, and then a million+ on Steam. Local studio management always made us feel like it was a big disappointment. #daysgone #PlayStation https://t.co/KMZr2pGe9rJanuary 5, 2022
Is Sony playing favorites?
Ross' comments come in response to the news that Ghost of Tsushima (opens in new tab) has now sold more than 8 million copies. Developer Sucker Punch Productions put out a celebratory Tweet (opens in new tab), thanking players for their support.
It achieved this goal in roughly the same amount of time (maybe a bit less) than Days Gone did, yet Bend Studio were apparently given little cause to celebrate. Ross even adds that while Days Gone's sales (opens in new tab) weren't as strong as something like God of War, neither were Ghost of Tsushima's or Death Stranding (opens in new tab)'s, both of which Sony appears to have treated with more fondness.
Some suspect that Sony was more concerned with Days Gone's critical reception. While reviews were generally positive, it garnered a slightly mixed response from critics, with the PlayStation 4 version holding an average Metacritic (opens in new tab) score of 71. Ross clarifies that the grief he and the team received was over the game's sales (opens in new tab), not review scores.
The canceled sequel
Last April, Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reported that Bend Studio pitched a Days Gone sequel to Sony, but was ultimately rejected due to the first game's reception and long development time.
Two teams were instead tasked with assisting Naughty Dog, one with a multiplayer project and another on an unannounced Uncharted game, but this prompted several staff members to leave as they didn't want to see Bend become a satellite studio.
The remaining staff asked to be taken off the Uncharted project, which Sony agreed to, leaving Bend to work on its own thing – apparently unrelated to Days Gone.
News of Sony rejecting a sequel did not sit well with fans, who put together a petition (opens in new tab) demanding the company to approve Days Gone 2. At the time of writing, it has reached over 140,000 signatures, although Sony has yet to issue any sort of response.