Oh, boy. No Man’s Sky…where to even begin?
Well, I guess to start off, I’ll explain what No Man’s Sky is and the controversy behind it. No Man’s Sky is an action-adventure survival game developed by Hello Games, and was released on the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows on August 9, 2016.
The game was originally slated to release on June 21, 2016 but was delayed until August because “some key moments needed extra polish to bring them up to our standards,” in the words of Sean Murray, the main PR spokesperson for Hello Games.
The game was first revealed at the VGX Awards in December 2013 and garnered a lot of attention from the press, which also resulted in an enormous amount of hype being generated by gamers around the world. Because of this, Sony offered Hello Games additional funding for development, but the indie studio requested only financial assistance for promotion to raise more awareness around the game.
No Man’s Sky reached such a high point in the excitement of those who anxiously awaited the game that when Sony demonstrated it during their E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) media event, it was the only indie game at the time to have ever had the spotlight shined on it in such a center-stage event. In fact, people were so collectively excited for it that it even reached the point of insanity; Jason Schreier, a Kotaku reporter, received death threats after he reported the August 2016 delay for No Man’s Sky.
The account that messaged him death threats has thankfully been suspended by Twitter staff and the Kotaku reporter is safe.
As you can see above, however, the hype around the game was evidently over-the-top and eventually reached a point where the expectations of those who awaited the game were extremely high. This is not entirely their fault, however. You see, it’s also the fault of the developers at Hello Games and especially their PR spokesperson, Sean Murray.
You see, when the game released, many people were disappointed and even angry at the results that arose from 3 years of development for the game that everyone so highly anticipated. When people started playing the game for the first time, they were met not by planets that struck them with awe but by endless menus and a tedious crafting system that the vast majority of players agree needs a lot of fine-tuning and improvement.
But, Chris, that’s fine, isn’t it? The game was released as advertised, was it not? Well…not exactly. In fact, a lot less than exactly.
You see, when trying to generate hype around the game, Hello Games had one man going around to many different interviews and conferences to talk to people about the game and to spark their curiosity. While doing this, however, Murray made a bunch of promises that Hello Games was unable to deliver on upon release day and also mentioned some features he claimed would be in the game. In reality, however, the features he mentioned were not in the game at all when it was launched in August.
Just a few examples include wildlife and AI (artificial intelligence) in general. At E3 2014, Sony showed a trailer that Hello Games put together for No Man’s Sky that showcased vastly advanced wildlife AI that acted as if they were real creatures of nature. They had so much variation in appearance and behavior that many people were just so surprised at what the team had supposedly managed to accomplish.
However, a dataminer known as MsrSgtShooterPerson on Reddit revealed that the animations for some of the creatures in the trailer such as the large dinosaurs had many of their assets stored in a folder called “PROPS,” which typically contained inanimate objects such as rocks. This likely means that the footage in the trailer was not at all real gameplay and was instead footage set up by Hello Games beforehand. You can find the original post on Reddit detailing this information at this link.
That’s definitely not the end of the misinformation, though. In a 2014 interview with Game Informer, Sean Murray makes some promises that aren’t necessarily true. You see, in this interview, Sean Murray talks about multiplayer and the “competitive element” that was supposed to be included in the game as a result of player interactions.
In the above video, you hear Sean Murray mention what I talked about up until 1:10 in the video. Sean Murray confirms multiplayer in the interview, yet as of release, there have been confirmed reports of two players designating a meeting area on a planet and coordinating a meetup.
However, this arrangement was to no avail because it seems that multiplayer actually hasn’t been implemented into this game. And there can’t really be much “griefing” without a player to grief, wouldn’t you agree?
I could go on and on, but I think we’ve heard enough about the broken promises Hello Game made for No Man’s Sky. As of right now, Hello Games still has yet to make a response about the controversy and false advertisement that they put out to generate hype for their game.
On September 29, however, a recording of a live stream from “LIVE with YouTube Gaming” was released. This live stream included none other than Geoff Keighley, who was present for VGX Awards 2013 and was also an executive producer for many Spike Video Game Awards events.
In this stream, Keighley commented on the the No Man’s Sky controversy and what caused it. The most notable part of his commentary was:
“We all wanted to believe in No Man’s Sky and Sean did too – so much that he was never able to build up the gumption to rip off that band-aid and reveal what was and wasn’t in the game … maybe the platform we gave him to launch the game was too big and create hole that he couldn’t pull himself out of.
But no matter what, you have to be honest with your fans. You can’t lie. And Sean wanted to preserve the promise and mystery of the game so much, he started to disrespect his audience. Those of you who paid for it have every right to be disappointed if you felt misled.”
Keighley also stated that at one point, Murray didn’t want to be around him much because Keighley was apparently “too negative” in his assessment of the game as the studio was under immense pressure.
I felt like these guys had no idea where they were going to go but they had this huge amount of momentum. I honestly resisted saying anything about this game for the better part of the last year because I’ve been internally conflicted about what I saw happening, and I’ve played a role in this. – Geoff Keighley
Keighley insists he does not in anyway believe that it’s a bad game, but he does believe that Hello Games should have been more honest with their fans. His sentiment, unfortunately, isn’t the same as many on the Internet who have lost faith in the studio and the game.
What do you think? Did Hello Games screw up? How could they have fixed things? Let us know below!