Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Days Gone wasn't a hit because reviewers were too "woke", director claims

UPDATE: Bend Studio responds, "does not share his sentiment."

UPDATE 09/12/22: Days Gone studio Sony Bend has issued a statement in response to director John Garvin's comments, in which he stated Days Gone received a middling reception because of "woke reviewers", and reviewers who "couldn't be bothered to actually play the game".

Sony Bend stated it "does not share his sentiment" and nor do Garvin's views "reflect the views of [its] team".

"Our studio is immensely proud of the work we accomplished on Days Gone and are thankful to every developer who poured their heart and soul into it," Bend Studio wrote.

"We are incredibly humbled by the support of our Days Gone community and we will continue to share your enthusiasm for our world and characters as we look toward the future."

The original story continues below.

ORIGINAL 08/12/22: Upon its release, Days Gone was met with middling reviews across the board. In our own review, in which Sony Bend's take on a zombie apocalypse was not awarded a badge, Malindy Hetfeld described it as "a shallow copy of many better open-world action games".

And Malindy wasn't alone in thinking this way. Even the powers that be at Sony reportedly didn't feel the game warranted a sequel.

But, according to Days Gone director John Garvin, the game itself was not to blame for this tepid reception. Rather, it "failed" because of a combination of "tech issues", "reviewers who couldn't be bothered to actually play the game" and "woke reviewers who couldn't handle a gruff white biker looking at his date's ass." Errm, ok then.

Eurogamer Newscast: Why is Sony worried about Call of Duty on PlayStation 6?Watch on YouTube

Garvin laid out his theories as to why Days Gone didn't get universal praise in a tweet which now appears to have been deleted (although, this is the internet, so you can still see it archived here and a screenshot of it below).

Needless to say, these remarks from Garvin have sparked quite the chatter online.

"C'mon John: 'woke'? You're better than that," replied one user. Well, clearly not, as Garvin followed up this reply with his own reply - "Nope, I'm really not... if a reviewer objects to a character because of identity politics, I call that woke... how am I wrong?".

Many were quick to point out some of the other reasons - aside from "woke reviewers" - why PlayStation owners did not fall over themselves to play the game.

"Claiming the protag of 'Days Gone' was just too much of a badass for all those woke reviewers is very silly," replied one. "We're told Deacon is a gruff badass biker, but in actuality he is dull, docile and does whatever he's told by those in authority."

At the end of the day, Day Gone wasn't a bad game. It just didn't really bring anything new or exciting to the table when there were plenty of others out there doing the same thing - and often just that bit better.

I can appreciate it being disappointing having something you have invested time and resources into not turning out as well as you had hoped, but at the same time Garvin seems to have a very strange bee in his bonnet about this one. His reasons that "woke reviewers" are in part to blame for the game's reception just don't really make sense.

Garvin and fellow Days Gone director Jeff Ross have now moved on (at least, in terms of their careers, clearly there is still a lot to unpack here for them emotionally) from the project. Earlier this year, Ross started work at Crystal Dynamics, while Garvin is now working on a NFT game called Ashfall.