Sony’s consistent output of critical and commercial smash hits is undoubtedly a key factor in PlayStation’s rise from the ashes after the troubled launch of the PlayStation 3. By doubling down on beloved franchises like Uncharted, a revived God of War, and more recent hits like Marvel’s Spider-Man and Ghost of Tsushima, Sony’s stable of first-party studios has become synonymous with chart-topping, award-winning games.But a new report from Bloomberg suggests that Sony’s upper management primary focus on blockbuster games that are ‘too big to fail’ comes at the expense of riskier, more inventive projects. If the picture painted is an accurate one, Sony may be losing a key facet of its identity that’s not only been a hallmark of the company since its earliest days, but is also directly responsible for some of PlayStation’s biggest hits over time. Jason Schreier’s report covers a handful of allegedly canned or altered projects among Sony’s suite of first party studios, like a The Last of Us remake that changed hands several times, a Days Gone sequel that will never see the light of day, and more. It’s certainly fascinating to learn about the projects that have and haven’t materialized from a company that’s been notoriously quiet in recent years, but the report points towards a company and leadership ethos that leaves little room for a bedrock of gaming, experimentation.
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The most damning example comes from what we learned about the development studio properly spinning up to be its own team within the Visual Arts Service Group, a Sony team that pinch-hit and assisted other Sony studios cross the finish line with their games. Rumors have abounded for years that they would be continuing the Uncharted franchise, but Schreier’s report states the team was allegedly working on a Last of Us remake that never got the support it needed there, and has since been moved to Naughty Dog. While the lack of support is troubling enough, The Last of Us – a benchmark of excellence at Sony – isn’t a game that screams the need for a remake eight years on, and in the wake of a perfectly good remaster.