Sony Bend’s Days Gone was delayed earlier this morning from its previous February 22nd, 2019 release date and has now been bumped to late April. While delays are usually never all that fun for those of us looking to get our hands on games as early as possible, this is a rare instance where I’m not only thrilled that Sony decided to push Days Gone back, it’s a delay that I’ve honestly been expecting to happen for months.
For those unaware with what the early part of 2019 is looking like in terms of releases, it’s going to be pure insanity. Within recent years, the number of games that have released in the first part of the year have started to drastically increase, but 2019 is an entirely new animal. Within the first three months of 2019, here are some of the most noteworthy games we’ll be getting, along with their release dates:
- Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown — January 18
- Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes — January 18
- Resident Evil 2 — January 25
- Kingdom Hearts III — January 29
- Dead or Alive 6 — February 15
- Anthem — February 22
- Metro Exodus — February 22
- Crackdown 3 — February
- Left Alive — March 5
- Devil May Cry 5 — March 8
- The Division 2 — March 15
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice — March 22
Again, those are just some of the most notable releases over that span of time. We also don’t even know the full picture of first-quarter 2019 yet, either, which means there will definitely be more games added to this slate. Early 2019 has some of the most stacked months of game releases that I have ever seen, even compared to that of some holiday windows of the past.
And for this reason alone, it just seemed like Days Gone was due to be bumped to a later date like it was today. Heck, Sony said as much in their own blog post announcing the delay and said the reason for the push was to “move the release of Days Gone from the crowded February timeframe.” Sony knew that early 2019 was going to be a mess, and they obviously knew that Days Gone would have been buried in the shuffle. In the interim, this delay has the benefit of allowing Bend Studio to continue polishing the final product, but I doubt that more time was really needed on the title. Sony likely could have shipped Days Gone in February, it’s just a bad idea.
Let’s be honest: Days Gone hasn’t shown all that well in a public setting thus far. Most of the trailers and gameplay sequences for the game have been pretty lackluster and haven’t prompted widespread excitement. It also seems like Sony continues to not have much hope for the open-world zombie game themselves, as they have yet to really show it off in a large setting since E3 2017. Within the past year, Days Gone was a no-show at PSX 2017 and E3 2018: not a good sign for what is looking to be one of Sony’s only first-party games next year.
Basically, if Days Gone hasn’t even found priority attention from its own publisher, then how do you think the average gamer feels about it? Days Gone seems like it’s already going to struggle out of the gate when it releases just because there’s next to no hype for the game as it is. Releasing up against titans like Anthem? That just seems to be a death sentence.
For reference, I actually got to play a bit of Days Gone a few months back during E3, and I found it to be pretty fun. By no means was it revolutionary, but blowing away hordes of Freakers–the name for zombies in the world of Days Gone–was enjoyable enough. I don’t think Days Gone is destined to be a terrible game by any means: from a critical perspective, I actually have quite a bit of hope for it. That said, there have been plenty of games in the past that I personally have loved that then fail to do well at market. Most notably, I’m looking at you, Brutal Legend.
For Sony though, this is all about profitability when it comes to Days Gone and for that reason alone, I would have been shocked had they kept the game locked into that original February 22 release date. As soon as I learned at E3 how many games were slated to launch on February 22, I knew one of them would budge and I had my money on Days Gone. In fact, I think Metro Exodus will likely move out of that spot as well because releasing next to Anthem is scary, but I guess only time will tell.
It’s also worth noting that Sony just had one of its most successful releases of all-time this April when they launched God of War. Now, the excitement difference between God of War and Days Gone is drastic and I’m not suggesting that Days Gone will find the same levels of success releasing in April compared to Kratos’ most recent venture. That said, there could be something that Sony has found that they like about releasing games in this month of April following God of War. Many industry analysts found that God of War surpassed their initial sales expectations and maybe releasing in this normally dry game release month had something to do with it.
This being stated, it’s worth noting that we don’t really know what the month of April 2019 is going to look like just yet. While I highly doubt it’ll end up being as busy as the originally planned February release date, Days Gone now sits as the game on 2019’s calendar that has the latest release date that we know of. More games will end up filling in those gaps around Days Gone in April, but will the releases be as notable as those in February? Probably not.
I’m hoping that this new release date for Days Gone will provide it ample breathing room at market to potentially find an audience. Sony can now spend those two extra months marketing Days Gone and hopefully proving why it should be on the radar of PS4 owners. While I’m still concerned that it won’t do too hot once it does launch, I’d rather see Days Gone live and die on its own merits rather than being crushed by games releasing in its proximity.