In brief: Most people consider 2019's open-world 'bikers meet zombies' (or Freakers, to be exact) game Days Gone to have been a bit of a failure, based on critics' reviews, so it might come as a surprise to learn that it outsold the critically acclaimed Ghost of Tsushima. But its director says that studio management still treated it like a disappointment despite shifting over 8 million copies.
Jeff Ross, the director of Days Gone who left Bend Studio in 2020 after two decades at the company, tweeted that the game has outsold Ghost of Tsushima. His post came after developer Sucker Punch announced that the Samurai adventure had sold over 8 million copies since launching in July 2020.
In the time since Days Gone arrived on Steam in May 2021, it's sold over a million more copies.
But Ross says selling more units than Ghost of Tsushima wasn't enough to satisfy Bend Studio management.
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/KMZr2pGe9r--- Jeff Ross (@JakeRocket) January 5, 2022
Days Gone launched to very average scores from critics; it has a Metascore of 71 for PS4 and 76 for PC. But user scores are a lot more favorable: 8.4 for PS4, 8.6 for PC, 9.2 from Amazon users, and a Very Positive rating on Steam. Ross did add, however, that although Sony does appreciate high scores from critics, "the grief we got was about the sales, not the scores." When someone suggested that there might be better leadership at Bend Studio these days, Ross replied with "nope."
Last year, Bloomberg reported that developer Bend Studio made a pitch for Days Gone 2 in 2019 but was turned down due to the original's mixed reception and long development time. "Although the first game had been profitable, its development had been lengthy and critical reception was mixed, so a Days Gone 2 wasn't seen as a viable option," the publication wrote.
Sony Interactive Entertainment has confirmed that Bend Studio is now working on a new IP that builds "on the deep open-world systems that they developed with Days Gone." Hopefully, this one will be better received.
Days Gone was one of the many games discounted as part of the recent Steam Winter sale. This writer bought it and has been quite impressed so far, definitely one of those titles that fall in the very good if not great category.