Days Gone writer and director John Garvin says Days Gone didn't receive universal praise from critics due to tech issues and "reviewers who couldn't handle a gruff white biker looking at his date's ass" among other things.
Days Gone is one of the few Sony's first-part exclusives that received mediocre reviews on launch. The game was praised for being quite the looker and its impressive tech which had huge swarms of zombies on screen but criticised for its poor pacing and story, technical issues and repetitive open-world activities.
Years after the release of Days Gone, now former Bend Studio director John Garvin has offered his thoughts on these issues and Days Gone's critical reception. Garvin blames tech issues like bugs and frame rate, reviewers who didn't play the game and woke reviewers who didn't quite dig a white biker guy as the main protagonist.
"It had tech issues like bugs, streaming and frame rate; It had reviewers who couldn’t be bothered to actually play the game. And three, it had woke reviewers who couldn’t handle a gruff white biker looking at his date’s ass," Garvin responded when asked how is it possible that Days Gone didn't get universal praise from critics.
Garvin added that whenever a reviewer objects to a character because of identity politics, he "calls that woke". Days Gone director probably refers to a preview piece by IGN where the writer included the following line:
"While I’ll admit that I initially rolled my eyes at yet another Gruff White Male Protagonist™ in a grim world - especially one with such a Gruff White Male Protagonist™-ey name as Deacon St. John - I ended up getting far more invested than I’d initially expected."
However, IGN's full review did not have any complaints about Deacon, calling the protagonist "endearingly gentle and sweet-natured protagonist".
Many will probably see Garvin's comments as controversial and unnecessary but he doesn't seem to be pulling any punches when it comes to his last game.
We'd argue that there are many other games featuring white male protagonists that received universal praise from critics like God of War: Ragnarok, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Red Dead Redemption 2, the Resident Evil series and so on.
So yeah, if Days Gone was actually an excellent game with a memorable story and enjoyable open world, we doubt anyone would have issues with Deacon St. John's skin colour.