How do you know the executives were, "in there playing the game along with the dev team" ?
Game development progression is usually tied to milestones, upon which the executives (in this case would most likely be the head of Sony's Worldwide Studios) would be presented with game demonstrations, timelines for completion, vertical slices of levels, as well as in some cases entire copies of games before final polishing towards the end. If Sony had done its own due diligence, there is no way they did not understand what is happening before the game is finished. Sometimes studio heads or technical leads will come into the office and chat around with people.
Given what I know about how games are developed, it is very difficult for me to envision a scenario where a game that cost at least a hundred million dollars and four full years to develop was not thoroughly examined by Sony. Such a process would also be followed for Ghost of Tsushima, with Sucker Punch also being supervised by some of the very same people.