I think, at some point, looking back on your history or legacy is usually one of the most insightful and humble things any publisher can do. For the last few years, many companies losing their touch have done the same. CAPCOM, Ubisoft, Microsoft, and hell, even Konami are doing it now.
(This is where I considered using Nintendo as an example of a company that gets this right, but Nintendo is so incredibly inconsistent with their decisions that putting them in any definitive category feels almost pointless.)
Now, you’ve already read the title. Hopefully, that’s why you clicked on it in the first place. You know where I’m getting at, so I’ll rip the band-aid off immediately. I think the current trajectory of Sony feels incredibly driven to encourage profits more than any actual respect for their past legacy.
Before I continue, I feel it’s important to mention a few exceptions, because I genuinely do believe that Sony cares, just not as much as it should. Astro’s Playroom is the biggest and most passionate celebration of a company’s legacy that I have ever seen.
No one can deny the sheer pride and joy that radiates from every second of that game. (Which I still believe deserves to be made into its own full game).
Last year’s Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart is also one of the best games on the PlayStation 5. Yet that does not make the exceptions any less frustrating, in fact, it honestly makes them even more confounding.
To this day the only way to play storied franchises like past Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Metal Gear Solid, or Infamous is either inconsistent PS2 emulation or just buying a PS3 as Sony has done very little to make these games accessible to modern audiences. Although in the case of MGS we can reasonably assume that one is on Konami.
On top of that, the only way to play a masterpiece Bloodborne is still on an extremely poor and inconsistent 30FPS cap along with terrible frame-pacing and low resolution. Even after years of constant feedback from the community, Sony has yet to give even an iota of information regarding a potential patch for Bloodborne.
What can only be deemed as a slap on the face to the many fans asking for these franchises to be brought to modern systems, it seems Sony is hell-bent on selling $70 remasters of already widely accessible titles such as The Last of Us or and I still can’t believe this is real, Horizon Zero Dawn.
What’s even worse is seeing Sony throwing a tantrum at losing Call of Duty to Microsoft, knowing Sony itself is sitting on numerous FPS franchises that could be dusted off and made into a competitive entry to Microsoft’s own Halo and Call of Duty. An opportunity rife with potential given the current state of one of these franchises.
Sony’s current direction under new CEO Jim Ryan has taken a different turn. With a higher focus on making games that can be further monetized into TV series and film adaptations. While I think that on its own is not a bad thing, it’s clearly impacting the output of games which honestly? Kinda sucks.
It is readily apparent that Sony’s latest release The Last of Us Part 1 and the upcoming Horizon Zero Dawn Remaster are meant to cash in on the hype of their upcoming TV shows.
One of them got a new trailer a little over a week ago. It’s clearly impacting Sony’s decisions when it comes to game development, which personally is very disappointing as it’s very likely setting a trend for what’s to come.
That’s not to say that Sony isn’t producing some great games. Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart, Returnal, Horizon Forbidden West, and Demon’s Souls Remake are all extremely fine games that show how great their games can be. Hell, I’d consider Returnal to be one of their boldest and most successful original titles yet.
We can also safely bet that Ragnarok is going to be a huge hit. Even so, it would be short-sighted to ignore the clear signs we’ve seen so far. Sony is aiming for the big bucks here and it’s understandable, why wouldn’t they? It’s just sad to see it leading to decisions that can only be described as artistically bankrupt.
In the end, this could be boiled down to a passionate rant from someone who loves the content that Sony has given and produced over many decades. They will still be producing great games for everyone, despite what jaded people like me might say.
Many people say that gaming is dying, or games are getting worse. There might be some merit to this argument, but ultimately, I think it’s disingenuous. Gaming isn’t dying, nor are games getting worse. In fact, we’ve had some incredibly exciting and maybe even some of the best years in gaming over the past 5 years.
While I agree that games being $70 sucks, especially so for third world countries and companies like Sony are certainly to blame for that.
So does the rising focus on live service games. It’s still the best time to be into gaming than it has ever been. If you have a PC then you already have easy access to hundreds of thousands of games on the cheap.
Don’t own a PC? Get a Steam Deck which just gives you a portable gaming PC without any of the pains of actually building a PC. Want to try something out before you pay money for it?
Try it out on the Xbox Game Pass which gets new titles the very day they release. The options are almost limitless for someone just discovering the depth of the gaming medium.
Going back to where we started. I still stand by my argument. Sony is not in a bad state, nor has it ever been, but its current state is still disappointing to consider.
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