Not many people know, but Demon’s Souls was actually a Sony published product in Japan. The rock-hard fantasy adventure game – which went on to spawn a cult fanbase across the globe – could have been Sony’s next big franchise; unfortunately, the platform holder thought it was a bit rubbish.
In an interview with Game Informer, Sony Worldwide Studios president, Shuhei Yoshida, explained:
What happened with Demon’s Souls was until very late in the game’s development, we were not able to play the game through. There were framerate issues and the network was not up and running. We underestimated the quality of the game and to be honest, the media in Japan did the same.
Yoshida-san did eventually get a few hours with the game, but his impressions from that time weren’t good:
When it was close to final I spent close to two hours playing it and after two hours I was still standing at the beginning at the game. I said, “This is crap. This is an unbelievably bad game.” So I put it aside.
The rest, of course, is history. Atlus brought the game to Western shores and it went on to become one of the PlayStation 3’s most defining games. But does Yoshida have any regrets over passing up the Western release of the masochistic title?
Absolutely! I hope we won’t make the same mistake again. I should have been more stubborn talking to marketing people here in North America and Europe.
With the Dark Souls franchise – widely considered by many to be Demon’s Souls’ spiritual successor – now well established, does that mean we’ve seen the last of Demon’s Souls?
From Software is a very important business partner, so we’ll see.
Take that as you will. We’re still hoping the franchise makes the jump to PlayStation Vita at some point. That said, tossing about an expensive handheld doesn’t sound like the most cost-effective way to channel frustration.