Sony has agreed that declining to publish the cult RPG Demon’s Souls was one of its biggest blunders in recent years.
Responding to a GameInformer article that chronicled some of Sony’s mistakes in recent years and suggested passing up publisher rights on From Software’s PlayStation 3 exclusive was among them, Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida replied, "Absolutely! Tell me about it! 100% agree!"
Yoshida went on to explain that the publisher had failed to properly estimate the quality of the final product after limited time with the game while it was still in development.
“All things considered, it's part of the issue of making games in Japan,” explained Yoshida. “The game development in Japan typically is made horizontally where all assets are made in parallel, so it's difficult to figure out what the final state of the game is going to be.
“The western style of game development is typically a vertical slice. So in the very early process the team tries 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. 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.”
Yoshida’s own first impression of the game was extremely negative.
“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.”
“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.”
Still exclusive to the PlayStation 3, Demon’s Souls went on to become a cult RPG classic. Its sequel, Dark Souls, was released last year on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to critical acclaim.