In an interview with Game Informer, president of Sony’s Worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida admits to thinking that Demon’s Souls, the multiple Game of the Year award-winning action-RPG from Japanese developers From Software, was “crap.” Yoshida also says that Sony’s decision to not publish Demon’s Souls in North America and Europe was one of the company’s biggest mistakes of this console generation.
“Absolutely! Tell me about it! 100 percent agree!”, said Yoshida when pressed on Sony’s publishing faux pas.
Yoshida goes on to state that he spent two hours with a near-final build of the game, and had to “put it aside” due to how poor his time with the title was. He notes that there were “framerate issues” with the title up until its later stages of development, and that “the network was not up and running.”
“The western style game development is typically a vertical slice. So in the very early process, the team tried to create a small piece of the experience that resembles the final product. What happened with Demon’s Souls was until very late in the game’s development, we were not able to play the game through.” Naturally, with such a lackluster sample experience, the decision on Sony’s part not to publish the title was made that much easier.
Of course, we all know what became of Demon’s Souls. After being picked up by Atlus in North America and Namco in Europe, the PS3 exclusive went on to receive near-universal rave reviews, plenty of year-end accolades, and one of the most dedicated fan followings seen this generation. This past year, the title spawned a spiritual successor, Dark Souls, which went on to receive the same treatment. That game, however, was released for both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.
“We definitely dropped the ball from a publishing standpoint, including studio management side. We were not able to see the value of the product we were making.”
When asked if anything was learned from this experience, Yoshida replied, “Game development is a tough process. We start and stop many games. Some get made to the finish, but we have to make decisions. I hope we won’t make the same mistake again.”