Sony's Shuhei Yoshida ponders mixed PS4 review scores

"These games really grow on you..."

Sony's three first-party PlayStation 4 launch games were reviewed by much of the gaming press yesterday - and scores have been mixed.

Housemarque's arcade shooter Resogun currently sits on the highest review score average according to Metacritic: 82. Guerrilla Games' technical showcase shooter Killzone Shadow Fall has a 74 Metascore, and Sony Japan Studio's Knack has a Metascore of 59.

While Finnish studio Housemarque will no-doubt be delighted with Resogun's critical acclaim, Guerrilla Games and to a greater extent Sony Japan Studio, alongside Knack director and PS4 system architect Mark Cerny, won't be happy.

In an interview with GamesIndustry International, boss of Sony Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida said it was "disappointing" to see some low scores.

"I haven't spent enough time reading reviews, but I would characterise them as mixed," Yoshida said, before offering an explanation.

"And with this launch there are lots of games coming out, so the media must be very busy going through the games quickly, and especially since the online functionality wasn't ready until in the last couple days. So we have to look at how much time they spend on what aspect of the games and how that may be contributing to some of the lower scores."

Yoshida said that despite the disappointing review scores, he wasn't worried for the PS4 itself.

"I've played through all of our games, Killzone, Knack and Resogun, and I totally enjoyed playing through these games," he said.

"I'm now on my second run of Knack and Resogun at a higher difficulty - these games really grow on you when you play more. I'm very confident that once you purchase these games and play, you'll be happy that you've done so."

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Why always me?

Action platformer Knack has come in for particular criticism. In Eurogamer's 4/10 Knack review, Tom Bramwell wrote: "Perhaps time was a factor, or perhaps Mark Cerny - the PlayStation 4 visionary who also led development of this game - is a better programmer and system architect than he is a writer and creative director. Whatever the answer, Knack isn't the kind of game you'll want to take home with your PlayStation 4. I'm all in favour of games that transport us back to the good old days of vibrant originality, but Knack simply doesn't."

In the interview, GamesIndustry International suggested Cerny might have spread himself too thin by taking on development of the game alongside development of the PS4.

"I was hoping Knack could score in the mid-70s and last I checked it's around 59-60, so I'm hoping it goes up. The game uses only three buttons to play, so it's not the type of game reviewers would score high for the launch of a next-gen system."

Yoshida, though, denied this assertion.

"No, I don't think that's right," he said. "He spent maybe a quarter of his time during the development of Knack and in his position of giving creative direction and overseeing development, it was appropriate... He was in Japan every month for a week, working with the team, so the communication was very good."

Yoshida then claimed Knack "wasn't designed [to meet specific] review scores".

"I was hoping Knack could score in the mid-70s and last I checked it's around 59-60, so I'm hoping it goes up. The game uses only three buttons to play, so it's not the type of game reviewers would score high for the launch of a next-gen system.

"The game was targeted as what we call a second purchase; you know, people may purchase PS4 for Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed or Killzone, but if they also buy Knack, this is a game that you can play with your family or your significant other.

"It's a message that as a platform we are not just trying to cater only to the hardcore, shooter audience - we are looking at all kinds of gamers - but Knack is a great game for core gamers as well because when you up the difficulty level it becomes a really tight, tense action brawler.

"But the goal was to design it to be played by anyone, even someone who's never played before. So it wasn't aimed at high review scores, even though higher would be appreciated!

"Killzone is different - it's definitely targeted to the core gaming audience and we're still waiting on more reviews because some sites are saying they played single-player but not enough multiplayer. So I'll wait with my personal judgement until I read more reviews."

PS4 goes on sale in Europe on 29th November 2013.

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