In an interview with CNET, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan expressed a desire to keep producing story-based, first-party games.
Highlighting the success of titles like the recent God of War and Spider-Man games, this declaration goes against many popular trends in the current gaming landscape. Namely, the dominance of the games as a service business model, which prioritizes iterative gameplay experiences over thematic and fully fleshed out stories. Although commonplace, games based on this service model have drawn increasing amounts of criticism as of late for including frustrating and borderline exploitative mechanics, such as loot boxes and pay to win microtransactions.
To Sony’s credit, the company is set to publish several narrative-focused games in the near future. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding currently has a November release date and will primarily focus on its single-player campaign. The Last of Us Part II, which is rumored to release in 2020, will mostly center on single-player gameplay tied to an overt narrative. Ghost of Tsushima, another game that Sony heavily promoted at E3 2018, will also be a story-driven title.
Although the landscape may change with the launch of the next generation of gaming consoles, the PlayStation 4 seems to be entering its twilight years with several highly anticipated, story-driven games.