What Has Happened to Sony’s First-Party Exclusives?

Killzone: Shadow Fall was the first PS4 exclusive to let some people down.

Killzone: Shadow Fall was the first PS4 exclusive to let some people down.

It has long since been an industry truism: PlayStation first-party exclusives are very often a cut above.

One could argue that after an abysmal start, PlayStation 3 would never have caught Xbox 360 in terms of worldwide sales if it weren’t for the surge of top-tier exclusives, many of which managed to outstrip 360 exclusives in terms of critical acclaim and popularity. But thus far in a new generation, the immense quality of the Sony first-party exclusive appears to have slipped. That is, if we are to believe the critical reception.

Compare and contrast, if you will: Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots holds a Metascore of 94Heavy Rain has an average score of 87God of War III has a review average of 92Killzone 2 holds an impressive 91 average, the first two LittleBigPlanet games come in at 95 and 91, and the three Uncharted titles have the following Metascores respectively: 88, 96, and 92. Undoubtedly, these games helped lead the charge last generation and establish PlayStation as, once again, the king of exclusive software.

The Uncharted series always hauled down huge review scores, but...

The Uncharted series always hauled down huge review scores, but…

But something has happened since and it’s even happening within established franchises. For instance, LittleBigPlanet 3 on PS4 only managed a 79 averageGod of War: Ascension landed an 80 (well below the franchise’s average), and after the critical darling that was Killzone 2Killzone 3 came in at an 84. No bad games here, to be sure, but we’re seeing a decline. Killzone: Shadow Fall continued that decline, only setting a 73 Metascore. Last year’s inFamous: Second Son was supposed to be pretty special and while the 80 Metascore isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, many will agree it fell shy of lofty expectations.

Now, out comes The Order: 1886 and its disappointing 65 average seems to continue the downward slide for Sony’s first-party exclusives. Next month’s Bloodborne may prompt a recovery and everyone is expecting great things from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End but thus far, it seems as if Sony’s exclusives are simply falling short. However, let’s not forget that we’re only talking about review scores here. Perhaps there are other reasons the scores are falling; maybe it’s because critics are simply getting stricter with all games, or maybe it’s because expectations were just too high for a new generation.

However you view it, it’s a fact that scores have declined for the PlayStation first-party exclusive, and Sony might want to address the issue.

8 thoughts on “What Has Happened to Sony’s First-Party Exclusives?”

Personally I think there could be multiple reasons as to why scores have gone down for the listed exclusives that you spoke of. Many of them suffer from too frequent sequels that do little to differentiate themselves from previous iterations. I also feel that we need games like The Order and Bloodborne to come out so that first party studios begin to create new franchises from the ground up. I have no issue with the length of The Order and am somewhat disappointed at how it has been received. Is it linear as hell? Absolutely! But when is linearity a negative? When I play this game, I take it for what it is. No its not open world, and no it doesn’t have the typical progression system found in many of today’s games and I appreciate that. It pulls me in, tells me its story without the videogamey stereotypes that have become a habit at times. It immerses me with its beautiful environment and amazing voice work. I think its sad that we have so many creators and Dev teams who dare to weave a product in their own creative light, only to be trampled by so called fans of a hobby who are extremely ungrateful.

I totally agree that linearity shouldn’t be considered a negative thing. The trend right now is resulting in the death of linear, narrative-driven games and I’m NOT liking that.

I’m liking The Order, too. It pulls me in as well and the story is great, I think. I have zero interest in Bloodborne; I appreciate a cinematic adventure, although I guess people these days just don’t care. They want to run around doing whatever they want and to hell with the story. 🙁

They’re definitely on the decline, no doubt about it. I do expect them to get back on track with Bloodborne, however.

I just watched a video of someone getting in 2nd place in a Driveclub race against the AI even though he was clearly in 1st (ahead of the car). When an experienced racing developer can’t even get the basics of racing right, it’s obvious that they put graphics over gameplay.

You seem to pass judgment an awful lot. You completely dismiss everyone here because they don’t give you names (names that would subsequently get bashed all over the Internet) and now you’re talking about a game you’ve never even played.

Brilliant. LOL

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