We are talking about Last days again, three years after the open world zombie survival game came out. You might remember the one-off PlayStation exclusive rreceived a mediocre reception and saw apparently disappointing sales. The reason? Well, according to writer and game director John Garvin in reply to a fan on Twitter, “The reviewers woke up [couldn’t] deal with a rugged white biker looking at his date’s ass.”
Last days is Sony Bend Studio’s first true foray into the open world genre and was released in April 2019. After the former outlaw turned crook Deacon St. John Traversing a post-apocalyptic and zombie-infested Oregon, the game received a medium-critical reception. It received a score of 71 on Metacritic and 72 on OpenCritic, with most reviewers panning the game for its boring world, frustrating exploration, and boring storytelling. in the kotaku‘s reviewsaid former staff writer Joshua Rivera Last days “fail[ed] nothing new to offer to fit informally into arguments of 10 years the Walking Dead and countless post-apocalyptic games of this kind.” In other words, Last days was a totally unoriginal if occasionally enjoyable experience.
Continue reading: Last days Was a “disappointment” for Sony despite selling millions, director says [Update]
The game has sold around eight million copies since it first launched on PlayStation 4 three years ago its PC port that dropped in May 2021. Eight million is a massive number to celebrate, but given the open-world Kurosawa-esque Sucker Punch Productions Spirit of Tsushima sold the same amount in less than two years, Bend Studio’s upper management, including former director Jeff Ross, explained Last days a disappointment.”.
Now, Garvin has shared some theories of his own as to why critics found it Last days was a bit disappointing (h/d VGC). In a now-deleted tweet (archived here), Garvin gave a fan three reasons why he thought the game was doing so poorly:
1. there were technical issues like bugs, streaming and framerate;
2. It had reviewers who didn’t bother to actually play the game
3. And third, it had woken up reviewers who couldn’t stand it when a rugged white biker looked at his date’s ass
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If you have played Last days, you probably know the scene Garvin is referring to. But for the uninitiated there is an early flashback sequence in which Deacon and his date Sarah Whitaker (who later becomes his wife) explore Oregon, walking down a trail and admiring the sights. Sarah stops to “show [Deacon] What [he’s] seeks” and leans forward. Deacon steps back and says, “Yep, found it,” and the camera pulls back to show him staring at her. While this sexually charged moment between the two characters was a point of contention for some critics, it’s hardly one of the main reasons why the game doesn’t perform better than it did.
kotaku has reached out to Sony and Garvin for comment.
Other people on Twitter were quick to deny Garvin’s claims.
“Claiming the Protag of ‘Last days‘ was just too badass for all these bright reviewers, is very silly. tweeted one. “We’ve been told Deacon is a rough, badass biker, but he’s actually boring, docile and does what the authorities tell him to do. His agency is limited to whining to himself.”
“I think the main reason Last days got mediocre reviews because the game wasn’t very good,” said another.
Perhaps video maker Chris Franklin summed it up best. “What’s crazy to me is that I don’t think anyone really hated Last days” he tweeted. “The consensus was that it was perfectly fine. Cromulent. Does what it promises. At a time packed with open world games and zombie games, it certainly was one of them. So it’s odd to get angry at critics who haven’t gutted your title (it’s #71 on Metacritic!) but haven’t sung its praises with sufficient cheering.”
As I wrote in JanuaryI have not found Last days fun to play. “The controls were clunky and cumbersome. Hunting resources was a chore. I enjoyed riding the bike in beautifully apocalyptic Oregon, but the novelty wore off after I kept running out of gas.” And all of this was made worse by the fact that both the open-world and zombie survival genre are incredibly saturated, and Last days didn’t do enough to stand out from other games at the time.
I won’t blame anyone who enjoyed it Last days. To each his own. But proclaiming “bright reviewers” was one of the reasons the game’s mediocre reception hasn’t kept up with reality. That was the reality Last days was just some sort of OK, boring mid-range game. The world has noticed and acted accordingly: no need for “bright reviewers” of conspiracy theories.
Garvin has since moved away from Sony Bend Studio and is now working on a game with NFTs.