Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has reacted to the initial roster of PlayStation 4 reviews, telling our friends over at Games Industry.biz that he’s somewhat disappointed with the first batch of scores. Despite this, though, the mixed reaction hasn’t dampened the executive’s excitement for the impending console, which he believes will usher in a “transitional generation” of technological and networking advancements.
“It’s disappointing to see some of the low scores,” he told the publication candidly. “I haven’t spent enough time reading the reviews, but I would characterise them as mixed. And with this launch there are lots of games coming out, so the media must be very busy going through the games quickly, and especially since the online functionality wasn’t ready until in the last couple days. So we have to look at how much time they spend on what aspect of the games and how that may be contributing to some of the lower scores.”
Despite the disappointment, Yoshida still believes that players will have fun with the initial roster of games. “I’ve played through all of our games – Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack, and Resogun – and I totally enjoyed playing through these games,” he said. “I’m now on my second run of Knack and Resogun at a higher difficulty – these games really grow on you when you play more. I’m very confident that once you purchase these games and play, you’ll be happy that you’ve done so.”
Of course, the man in charge of PlayStation’s entire first-party network is likely to say something like that – but he does later admit that the company never expected Japan Studio’s platformer to be especially well received. “Knack wasn’t designed [to meet specific] review scores,” he explained. “The game uses only three buttons to play, so it’s not the type of game reviewers would score high for the launch of a next-gen system. The game was targeted as what we call a second purchase.”
In other words, it’s the type of title that you’ll also pick up alongside the likes of Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – and Yoshida believes that it suits that purpose well. “This is a game that you can play with your family or your significant other,” he continued. “But it’s a great game for core gamers as well, because when you up the difficulty level it becomes a really tight, tense action brawler. The goal was to design it to be played by anyone, even someone who’s never played before.”
While we appreciate Yoshida’s honesty, we think that he’s letting the lower scores pull him down a touch. Despite the rather poor Knack scores, both Killzone: Shadow Fall and Resogun performed very well barring a few outliers – and fortunately the executive still believes that the PS4 is in a very strong position. “The PS4 generation is going to be the transitional generation,” the suit said. “In a sense, it’s the completion of the evolution of the strong 3D capable consoles, but at the same time it’s at the maturing phase of our network platform and the beginning of our new service phase, like our cloud gaming that we are preparing to launch next year.”
He concluded: “So all that considered, and the difficulty we had at the launch of the PS3, and very strong competition especially in North America, that made us really revisit everything we’ve been doing and redefine the company, almost like we’re re-entering this industry. Even across our teams, I think you now get more consistent messages [about PlayStation] compared to past generations, because we talk a lot more and get a lot of input [from all the teams] on different decisions.” And what a difference it's made.