If there’s one good thing we can say about Sony, it’s that they have an incredibly pro-creative attitude towards game development. They let developers work on new stuff, and they let them take their time. The result is that a lot of Sony games may see a lot of delays, but when they release, they are almost inevitably worth the wait without exception.
This is because of Sony’s unusual attitude towards deadlines in game development. Speaking to Business Insider, Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shawn Layden said that while the company does try to enforce deadlines, they understand that they are not an end unto themselves, and that creative considerations always take precedence. The results, he said, end up compensating for the disappointment that delays generate.
“You know, we’ve been at this for over 25 years now. And I think we are understanding better the power of unleashing the creative — and really being able to speak with individuals, or with teams, that have a vision for a game they wanna bring forward,” he said.
”Having done it so often over so many years, I think we’re just getting better at it. We’re more experienced at it. We understand what the real cost, time and money, for a great scope is, and prepare ourselves to deliver that.
”Deadlines are important, but they’re not an end unto themselves. Deadlines, or milestones, are ways that you measure your progress across a trajectory. They’re check-in points. Are we achieving this level of artistic quality? If the story works, what are the beats? Are the animations executed? And more often than not, if we feel that we need to spend a little more time in any one of those categories, we’ve made provisions, and we’re prepared to move a date if it’s in service of achieving a greater result.
“And I know in the game community, people are disappointed to find out that, ‘Hey! What do you mean you’re moving it up 30 days, or 60 days, or 90 days?’ But once we’ve come to market, everyone says, ‘Oh my God, I’m so glad you did.’ Because we can only answer that disappointment by delivering an awesome result.”
It’s a healthy attitude to have. Delays often help games reach their true potential and end up far better a product than they would have been had they been forced to release by a certain date to meet whatever deadline. It’s good to see Sony values the creative process more than anything else when it comes to game development.
If you want to see more of what Shawn Layden has been saying recently, make sure to check out his remarks on how Sony isn’t standing in the way of cross-platform play (which a developer has refuted since), and why Sony isn’t attending E3 this year.