THE BUZZ: Sony passing on the publishing of Demon’s Souls in the West is now considered a huge mistake—but it’s one that may have come, in part, because of one man at the company thinking the game was terrible.
EGM’s TAKE: Every company makes mistakes—and as the say, hindsight is 20/20.
This is especially true in video games, where sometimes publishers don’t or can’t understand the appeal or value of a game until fans (or another publisher) shows it to them.
That’s what happened to Demon’s Souls, the now much-beloved action adventure from small Japanese developer From Software. They made the game as part of an agreement with Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan, but while Sony did indeed publish the Demon’s Souls in their home territory, they just didn’t see the appeal of the title in the West—and thus passed on publishing it in other territories.
Atlus and Namco Bandai stepped in to release the game in territories such as North America, Europe, and Australia, and the rest is history. While it may not have seen the sales success of titles such as Call of Duty or Skyrim, for the size of project that it was, it went on to sell far better in the West than anybody could have ever predicted.
In speaking with Game Informer, Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida talks about the fact that it can sometimes be hard to truly appreciate the reception a game will receive before it is released—and how Demon’s Souls was a perfect example of that.
“What happened with Demon’s Souls was until very late in the game’s development, we were not able to play the game through,” Yoshida told GI. “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.
“For my personal experience with Demon’s Souls, 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.”
Asked if passing on publishing the game in non-Japanese territories was one of Sony’s biggest software-related mistakes, Yoshida said, “Absolutely! Tell me about it! 100% agree!”
One especially interesting point was when Yoshida was asked about the overall Demon’s Souls IP—something Sony still retains ownership of—and if the company might do anything with it in the future.
“We never sell our IPs. Well, I should never say never, but it’s not our business. Our business is to grow our IP and we love Demon’s Souls. FromSoftware is a very important business partner, so we’ll see.”
For the entire Game Informer interview with Shuhei Yoshida—where he talked more about Demon’s Souls, The Last Guardian, and more—hit the link below.
Source: Game Informer