That’s according to a new Bloomberg report on Sony Interactive Entertainment’s first-party development. According to the story, Sony’s increasing focus on exclusive blockbusters has come at the expense of “niche” teams within its first-party organisation.
One such casualty was reportedly Sony Bend, which is claimed to have had a 2019 pitch for Days Gone 2 rejected.
“Although the first game had been profitable, its development had been lengthy and critical reception was mixed, so a Days Gone 2 wasn’t seen as a viable option,” Bloomberg states.
Instead, journalist Jason Schreier claims that one team at the studio was assigned to help Naughty Dog with a multiplayer game, while a second group was assigned to work on a new Uncharted game with supervision from Naughty Dog.
Because Bend’s developers feared they might be absorbed into Naughty Dog, the report claims that the studio’s leadership asked to be taken off the Uncharted project and are now working on a new game of their own.
However, the internal conflict is said to have resulted in key departures at Bend. Most notably, the studio’s two most senior creatives, writer / director John Garvin and game director Jeff Ross announced their exits from the Oregon, US-based developer in December.
Both men had been with Bend Studio (previously known as Eidetic) from its origin days in the mid-90s, having written and designed PSOne action game Syphon Filter and its sequels.
Sony Interactive Entertainment purchased Bend Studio in 2000. Days Gone, released in 2019, was the developer’s first original IP in two decades.
In VGC’s Days Gone review, our critic called the PS4 exclusive “far from the worst specimen of its genre but in a year already packed with 50 hour+ endeavours, it rarely makes the case for its own existence.”
Bloomberg’s report also claims Naughty Dog is working on a remake of the original The Last of Us for PlayStation 5.