PlayStation Boss On Why They Waited So Long To Announce Sucker Punch's New Game
"In the past, I think it's fair to say sometimes we announced games too early."
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Infamous studio Sucker Punch's exciting-looking new game, Ghost of Tsushima, was finally announced during the PlayStation briefing at Paris Games Week last month. This came after basically years of silence from the studio following the release of its last game, Infamous: First Light, all the way back in 2014. Some took Sony's silence on Sucker Punch's activities as a sign that something might be wrong at the studio. But that wasn't the case, PlayStation Worldwide Studios SVP Michael Denny told GameSpot in a recent interview. The executive suggested that Sony intentionally held back from announcing the studio's new game because it didn't want to talk about it too early.
"Yeah, that's a strange one to me," Denny replied when I asked about how some people might have feared the worst about Sucker Punch before Ghost of Tsushima was announced. "I think the right thing to do...and I think we're learning and a lot of publishers are learning ... there is a right time to announce games."
As Xbox executive Shannon Loftis did before, Denny admitted that Sony has in the past announced games too early in their development cycle. Game development is a highly iterative and fluid process, with systems and features changing over time. So the fear, it seems, is that if a game is announced as one thing and becomes another, there could be blowback. But now, for Sucker Punch's new game, the time is finally right to tell the world about it.
"In the past, I think it's fair to say sometimes we announced games too early," Denny said. "And this is such a great project for Sucker Punch. It's a game they've always really wanted to make themselves," he added. "And I think it's the right time to announce that, and they've been working on that game for a long time now. There is great [playable version of the game] already. So we're just excited to let everybody know about it."
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Based on the announcement trailer for Ghost of Tsushima (which you can see above), we know it's an open-world game that appears to take place during the Mongol invasions of Japan. It looks like it will detail the exploits of a lone Samurai turned vengeful assassin.
Ghost of Tsushima is coming to PlayStation 4, though other details and a release date have not been announced as of yet. It's Sucker Punch's first new IP in eight years.
Generally speaking, there is a culture of secrecy in gaming where developers and publishers won't tell the public what their teams are working on for various reasons. Some believe there is a "toxic" culture in gaming that leads to this culture of secrecy. Denny didn't go into further specifics in our interview, but Loftis--the Xbox executive--told us that it's tricky to know when to announce games due the fact that game development is "highly experimental" and things can change.
"Games are a highly experimental medium," Loftis explained. "And it's a line that we have to walk between talking to gamers about the games we would like to make and knowing that we are going to be able to deliver them. For every game announcement that we do, we have to decide when is the right time to talk to people about this, how much code do we have to have in place, how much risks do we have to have mitigated. It gets very mundane around technical risks; and do we have a core mechanic that we like."
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This story has been updated.
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