Not long ago, Liam Robertson enlightened the internet and revealed Gnomageddon to all of us. This would have been a free-to-play game from Sony’s San Diego Studio that would have seen players commanding groups of garden gnomes in garden warfare. You know, basic, silly fun. But it never happened, because Sony backed and San Diego Studio made Kill Strain a year before. Kill Strain flopped and lost tons of money, which led to no more Gnomageddon.
While this is unfortunate, it points to a larger problem Sony seems to have. The company tends to back and publish these middling-to-bad free-to-play games. You know the kind I mean. The exclusives that aren’t on the same level as those amazing AAA exclusives Sony publishes. These are the low-end releases, but, that doesn’t give Sony an out for enabling and releasing sub-par, bland, and sometimes just plain bad games.
Let’s start with Kill Strain, from Sony and its San Diego Studio. It was a free-to-play, bland game with MOBA elements. This 5v5v2 game had two groups of five humans facing off against each other and two mutants, with the two mutants’ goal to be to defeat all humans and turn them into mutants. The problem is, the balance was bad, the game moved slowly, it had limited options for the longest time, required a big investment to play, and it seemed like mutants were destined to win. The game sucked, people saw that it sucked and abandoned it, and now the servers shut down a year after launch.
What about Guns Up! Do you even remember this one? Sony published this Valkyrie Entertainment game, and San Diego helped with its development. It was a side-scrolling, RTS where players were generals and tasked with managing resources and deploying troops. It was another free-to-play game. This meant it took forever to earn resources to really play, the gameplay was superficial and bland, It was tedious, with the same layouts over and over, and seeing it constantly hiding things that weren’t worth your money behind paywalls was obnoxious.
And now, we come to Drawn to Death. This is another game where San Diego helped another developer, The Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency, make a game that Sony then published. This one isn’t free, but it’s so bad you wish it was. In a way, it still counts as such, as Sony was giving it away to PlayStation Plus members when it launched in April, in hopes of getting people to play. It didn’t work. It tries too hard to be obnoxious. The visuals and gameplay are disorienting. There are matchmaking issues. It gets boring, due to its simplicity. Do you want to play a game that is shallow, repetitive, and constantly insulting you and dropping you into matches where you could be outnumbered? I didn’t think so.
Sony is good at making great games. The company’s AAA projects are amazing. So why waste time on these free-to-play or “should be” free-to-play games? Have the San Diego Studio focus on MLB The Show, aka the game they’re good at. Leave these bland, tedious, paywall-filled cash grabs behind. They don’t benefit anyone.