Yes, I'm serious.
I should stress, though, that this is all personal speculation and connecting the dots. But here's what we know for absolute certain:
- Before December 2016, Sony was 100% all in on the PlayStation. No multi-platforming, no buying porting houses, no devs tweeting about wanting to do PC port.
- In December 2016, Guerrilla Games' Decima Engine was selected to be the basis of Hideo Kojima's latest project, Death Stranding.
- In October 2019, Kojima Productions announced that Death Stranding would also release on PC.
- In January 2020, Jason Schreier published an article on Kotaku confirming that Horizon Zero Dawn was coming to PC. It was later confirmed in a side interview of a PlayStation event by Herman Hulst.
- In August 2020, Horizon Zero Dawn released on PC to commercial success.
- In February 2021, Bend Studio's Days Gone was announced to come to PC. This was then followed by a long period of silence. Days Gone was released in May 2021 to lesser but still substantial commercial success.
- In July 2021, Sony acquires Nixxes, a studio that specialises in PC ports.
- Then suddenly, during the September State of Play event, the Uncharted: The Legacy of Thieves Collection was announced to come to PC, mid-stream with a full trailer. This was then followed by the recent announcement of God of War PC, again with a full trailer and social media promotion.
Putting these pieces together, here is my theory as to how things may have went down behind the scenes:
- Hideo Kojima was clear: he was working with, not for, Sony. He insisted on a PC version of Death Stranding as condition for using Decima and being part of Sony's promotional events. Sony agreed.
- Being an in-house engine, it naturally fell to Guerrilla Games to provide tech support to Kojima, and at the very least help Kojima port Decima to PC, an involved task. I would go so far as to say they likely even experimentally ported HZD to PC as part of the effort, in the same way Bethesda once ported Skyrim to XB1 as part of Fallout 4's development. Indeed, I recall a Guerrilla dev once calling the HZD PC endeavour "an experiment."
- Having put in the work to send Kojima on his way, Guerrilla must have looked at what they've already done and wondered if they could get something out of it. They pitched the idea of polishing up and selling their experimental HZD port to Sony, who tentatively agreed. Hence the slightly low-key and sheepish announcement of the port.
- HZD releases to commercial success. Sony, being a business, would never say no to more money. They scrambled to explore this new commercial avenue further. Studios start pitching their own ideas to Sony, first among which were Bend, Santa Monica and Naughty Dog. We have Cory Barlog's tweet confirming Santa Monica's longtime interest (see below).
- The next natural step was, perhaps surprisingly, Days Gone. Days Gone was built on Unreal Engine 4, and was therefore far easier to port than HZD. This would tide things over while Sony put together a more comprehensive investment in the idea - including buying Nixxes, which demonstrated their seriousness.
- Uncharted and God of War, meanwhile, use in-house engines, and were therefore more involved to port, hence the long silence between January and September. But with the successes of HZD and Days Gone under their belt, Sony was willing to put their PC endeavour front and centre, hence the full prime time trailers and social media promotions.
Indeed, I find it telling that in Cory Barlog's rather famous tweet that he wanted to do a God of War PC port but it was above his pay grade, he specifically name-dropped Kojima, such is Kojima's influence and power among Sony's circles:
You know, I would love that. It is, sadly, a decision far above my paygrade. As is proven on a daily basis, I am no Kojima.— cory barlog 🖖 (@corybarlog) October 29, 2019
God of War is coming to PC on January 14 2022!!!❤️🪓— cory barlog 🖖 (@corybarlog) October 20, 2021
Huh. I guess I am a little bit Kojima after all? Just took me a couple of years.🙃https://t.co/TDT0hqjM6Ypic.twitter.com/lJ9nQgy45L
So there you have it, folks. Now you know who to credit/blame for Sony's sudden rush into the PC market: Hideo Kojima and his insistence on a PC version of his literal walking simulator may have kickstarted the chain of events that led to our current situation. Maybe he should get his own silver spandex in this picture: