Last week, Sony announced delays for two of the biggest PlayStation 4 exclusives of 2020: Marvel's Iron Man VR, and The Last of Us Part II. While both games seem to be at or near completion, Sony has stated that the delays were an intentional decision made because of difficulties with shipping the games out to retailers during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, many fans have wondered whether or not the games could see an early digital release, instead. Speaking on the Official PlayStation Blogcast, director Neil Druckmann addressed the possibility. Druckmann stated that a final decision has not yet been made, but also discussed the biggest potential hurdle.
"Is the internet infrastructure there to like support in all countries? You know, this is a worldwide game that people in every country are waiting for, and we want to make sure we’re fair. If we just get it to like a small fraction of people, what does that do to all the people that don’t get it? So, um, we’re right now looking at all sorts of different options. What’s the best way to get it to all of our fans as soon as possible? But that’s gonna take time for us to shift and figure things out. And, also see where the world’s at, you know things are changing from day to day.”
It's interesting to hear Druckmann bring up internet availability as a reason for why The Last of Us Part II might not see early digital release. The Last of Us was a worldwide success for Sony and Naughty Dog, and the game's narrative played a massive role in its popularity. If certain territories were to get The Last of Us Part II before others, it seems only inevitable that elements of that narrative would be spoiled for many players.1comments
Despite this, it's important to note that Druckmann did not outright reject the notion. However, the sudden global change caused by the coronavirus pandemic means that Naughty Dog and Sony are now forced to plan for something that wasn't a consideration just a few short weeks ago. While the delay has been no doubt disappointing for fans around the world, making sure that everyone gets to experience the game as intended certainly should be taken into consideration.
Do you think Sony should release The Last of Us Part II as an early digital release? What do you think of Druckmann's reasoning? Let us know in the comments or share directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!