'Days Gone' Delayed Two Months and That's Okay
Days Gone, originally slated to release during the already packed month of February 2019 (Anthem, Metro Exodus, and Crackdown 3), has been delayed until April of next year, according to a PlayStation Blog post by the SIEA Marketing Vice President. While it could be argued that this is a speed bump in the already worrisome production of the Sony exclusive, it should be looked at as a smart business move to give the studio more time to fully polish their new IP, and release their project during a less cluttered time.
When Days Gone was first announced it immediately piqued my interest. As a fan of the zombie genre, I was excited to see Sony Bend, a studio I’ve grown to trust, attempt a unique spin on an otherwise overdone story concept. You don’t have to look too far to find multiple interpretations on the zombie apocalypse, especially on Playstation where their critical hit The Last of Us already exists. What stood out regarding Days Gone was a real focus on the survival aspect of an apocalyptic scenario. From everything we’ve seen, from trailers to gameplay footage, the emphasis has always been to manage the overwhelming hordes of zombies. You aren’t expected to attempt, or even be able, to take these armies on by yourself. Instead, you are tasked with using the environment to your advantage as you work to escape perilous situations. A focus on strategy and heart-pounding moments adds a sense of urgency that can fully immerse the player in the world around them.
Back in May, IGN had their chance to play about 20 minutes of the game and noted it felt like “a cousin to The Last of Us in both setting and story.” The obvious comparisons that Days Gone will draw to The Last of Us, and the upcoming The Last of Us Part 2, is a major reason why this delay isn’t a bad omen at all. Since there will be no way to avoid comparisons to one of the most critically acclaimed games in Sony’s history, Sony Bend needs to ensure that this product is fully polished at the time of release. This delay gives them the opportunity to avoid any issues that could impact its release, while also giving Days Gone the chance to release on a day without three other major titles joining the market simultaneously. Any minor setback risks losing interest or having people say, “I’ll just wait for The Last of Us Part 2 to get my zombie fix.” Since Naughty Dog has already established a well-known and respected property, Sony Bend has to be certain Days Gone can stand on its own and realize success without being looked at as a diet version of The Last of Us. They have already separated themselves from their predecessor by placing a focus on open-world traversal as you attempt to survive the apocalypse, rather than the emphasis on narrative that we saw with The Last of Us.
There is one worry that I have now that the delay is official. I fear that if Days Gone releases too close to The Last of Us Part 2, it will be completely overlooked, leading to a steep hill to climb in order to achieve success. While I thoroughly enjoy the zombie genre, there’s no doubt some fatigue within the general population. The Walking Dead has routinely seen their ratings drop year after year, and games like State of Decay 2 didn’t achieve the success they initially sought. We still have no idea when TLOU2 will release, but it’s hard to ignore that the first installment was released on June 14, 2013. If Naughty Dog announces that they plan to release around the same time this coming year, it’s not out of the question to think people will forego spending $60 on a new, unproven franchise when they can use that money to purchase more of a sure thing. I’d like to think I’m not the only person who could see this as a potential problem, so I have to believe Sony wouldn’t allow these two games to release anywhere near each other. After all, both games will be exclusive to Sony and they surely want to maximize interest and sales in both properties.
Is Days Gone on your list of games to look out for in 2019? Give us a call at (347)-509-5620 to let us know why you may or may not be interested in the upcoming Sony exclusive.