Demon's Souls 'underestimated' by Sony

In a new interview, Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida admitted that refusing to publish Demon's Souls in the US was "one of Sony's biggest software mistakes this generation."

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There's a reason why Demon's Souls was a PS3 exclusive. In Japan, the game was published by Sony. However, in America, the game was published by Atlus--after Sony's US division passed on the opportunity to release the game stateside. In a new interview, Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida admitted that the refusal was "one of Sony's biggest software mistakes this generation."

"We underestimated the quality of the game," Yoshida said.

"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,'" Yoshida told Game Informer. "So I put it aside."

Demon's Souls went on to become a tremendous success for Atlus. The game even won a few Game of the Year nods, before developer From Software decided to make a multiplatform "sequel" in the form of Dark Souls.

"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," Yoshida lamented. The studio head hopes to never "make the same mistake again," and notes that Sony still owns the Demon's Souls IP. "Our business is to grow our IP and we love Demon’s Souls. From Software is a very important business partner, so we'll see."

From The Chatty

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    February 10, 2012 4:15 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Demon's Souls 'underestimated' by Sony.

    In a new interview, Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida admitted that refusing to publish Demon's Souls in the US was "one of Sony's biggest software mistakes this generation."

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      February 10, 2012 4:26 PM

      The studio head hopes to never "make the same mistake again," and notes that Sony still owns the Demon's Souls IP. "Our business is to grow our IP and we love Demon’s Souls. From Software is a very important business partner, so we'll see."

      Guys, it's time to milk it!

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        February 10, 2012 5:29 PM

        hey if CoD can do it, then why not.

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      February 10, 2012 4:26 PM

      q("Our business is to grow our IP")q
      That's more than a little ominous.

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      February 10, 2012 4:33 PM

      So, the same joker that said the game was crap now wants to now milk the IP. This turd-for-brains should have already been replaced.

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        February 10, 2012 11:39 PM

        Yeah, I'm sure you've never made a mistake.

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      February 10, 2012 4:38 PM

      I need to buy this game. Loved Dark Souls. Would like to queue up Demon's for after Skyrim.

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        February 10, 2012 5:25 PM

        Demon's Souls is slightly better than Dark Souls IMO, but I'd be really curious to see what someone thinks who played Dark Souls first. Both are excellent

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      February 10, 2012 4:38 PM

      Sony is awesome at choosing management

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      February 10, 2012 5:24 PM

      I think it was the best decision they ever made... because I got to play the game on my 360 (I never owned a PS3). AND this way the developer was exposed to a whole new (and larger) audience.

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        February 11, 2012 3:13 PM

        From Software has made 360 games before, original XBox games even.

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        February 13, 2012 3:50 AM

        This story is simply about Sony passing on publishing Demon's Souls in the US back in 2009. Neither Sony nor Atlus was involved with Dark Souls which you're obviously referring to. I don't believe Sony ever had a decision to make on that one as From Software self published it in Japan while Namco Bandai published it in the US and Europe. Therefore, Sony's decision to not publish Demon's Souls in the US had no impact on your ability to play it as Atlus kept it a PS3 exclusive.

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          February 13, 2012 10:31 AM

          I should have said Dark Souls up there, sorry about that. But my point was that if Sony published Demon Souls in the US back then (and the game was reasonably successful) then it seems to make sense that they would have published Dark Souls as well. It just seems like the logical progression. And based on that logic... a Sony published game would most likely never make it to the 360. So... all I was saying is that I'm very glad Sony made this mistake because otherwise I never would have been able to play Dark Souls... which I played for 100+ hours and was my game of the year last year.

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      February 10, 2012 6:30 PM

      Still my favorite game from this generation of consoles.

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        February 10, 2012 6:34 PM

        Might be mine too. It's between it and Dark Souls.

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          February 10, 2012 6:50 PM

          I am torn as well.

          I might have to give the edge to Dark Souls if only for that moment when you first look out over Annor Londo.

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            February 10, 2012 7:06 PM

            Easily one of the most memorable and gorgeous scenes in a game, ever.

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            February 10, 2012 7:33 PM

            The main thing I thought Dark Souls had going for it over Demon's Souls was the open world aspect. I absolutely loved it and thought it was a huge improvement on the World system from the first game.

            But then nothing will match the first time I ever explored the worlds of Demon's Souls... so fucking creepy and scary and tense. One of the best gaming experiences I've ever had.

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                February 10, 2012 7:57 PM

                Definitely agree with some of it but not all. I do agree you should have been able to travel between more bonfires. At least in the later stages of the game when you've opened up so much of the world.

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                  February 10, 2012 8:01 PM

                  That's the crux of the issue. By the time I'm level 40+, trudging through the same areas is no longer fun or challenging. There's no good reason why FS didn't implement a quick travel system that linked ALL bonfires rather than just some. That would have made for a great reward after surviving the brutal O&S battle.

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                    February 11, 2012 8:04 AM

                    You open up so many shortcuts that it never requires more than ten minutes to get anywhere from Firelink Shrine. I suppose that still amounts to a chore for some, but I didn't mind.

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      February 10, 2012 6:52 PM

      Sony made a bad business decision? Quelle surprise!

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      February 10, 2012 6:56 PM

      Whatever. I'll take a head of Sony recognizing a game like Demon's Souls over something like Call of Duty. That can have a very positive effect on what is greenlit in the future.

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        February 11, 2012 7:04 AM

        Did anyone not read the part of him playing the game for two hours? Where would you find a top level exec actually investing 2 hours of his time into a video game. The man is dedicated and humble enough to admit his mistake to the press.
        As a fan pf the industry, I am glad to see someone at the top caring enough to form his own opinions on titles. Shuhei is known to listen to gaming podcasts to get a better feel of what gamers are excited for and what they are ranting about. That man is down to earth.

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          February 11, 2012 7:28 AM

          Hopefully this means that he'll try to look at games from other perspectives from here on out.

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      February 11, 2012 8:02 AM

      Sony is worthless.

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        February 11, 2012 9:17 AM

        I'd love to know what you would have thought of Demon's Souls after two hours without the context of thousands of fans online telling you it'd pick up steam eventually. The game had issues, and although it's excellent, it's probably the worst game I can think of as far as "putting your best foot forward" and creating a good first impression for a new player.

        Honest, and understandable, mistake.

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          February 11, 2012 9:34 AM

          the thing is, a large portion of the investment in the game was already made. It was practically a complete game, it just needed a little touching up in some of the text. Even if it turned out to be a bomb, I kind of wonder how much they would have actually lost by publishing it.

          Sony has brought over and funded shittier games.

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      February 11, 2012 9:46 AM

      +1 rep Sony

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      February 11, 2012 4:17 PM

      to be honest I thought the same the first time I played the game. I even returned it the same day
      only to repurchase months later.

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      February 12, 2012 5:46 AM

      Here's the 2 sentences Shack left out, before Yoshida said he underestimated the game:

      "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."

      He talks about how with Western developers you have the infamous "vertical slice," so its a lot easier to get a sense of what the final product will be. Where as in Japan everything is built at once kind of. Evidently they're making all the assets, designing all the scenarios, before they get code in a final playable form. Of course one of the main issues with Dark Souls is its staggering frame rate in some of the more intensive environments. Apparently he thought it was going to be a poor quality product from a technical perspective.

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      February 12, 2012 10:54 AM

      There are only a handful of games that keep me coming back for more and that I actually enjoy firing up again to tackle. Dark Souls, Demon Souls and the STALKER series are currently at the top of that list. Never has such a frustrating game been more fun. I just hope they don't end up demonizing it (no pun intended) with 15 dollar DLC campaigns. From Software should ensure this never happens.