When No Man’s Sky released earlier this year, I quite liked it. I felt that the game was great for what it was, its misleading advertising and marketing notwithstanding. I enjoyed the game as a fan of astronomy and science fiction, and I was only too happy to award the game an 8– which, it turned out, was on the higher end of the spectrum as far as reviews for this game were concerned.
What I was not a fan of was how Hello Games handled the onslaught of criticism that came their way in the wake of the game’s launch. Others were not as happy with the game as I was, and many felt duped. They had perfectly fair and valid reasons for feeling the way they felt- and this isn’t even an uncommon sentiment as far as video games go. Destiny, Diablo 3, Counter Strike: GO and Civilization 5 are among some of the games that faced immense backlash at launch- but all those games had conscientious developers who worked hard to be transparent with the fans, keep them in the loop, and continuously updated the games in question to have them line up with what fans had expected. Today, all of those games have massive, vocal fanbases, and are largely believed to be the best games in their respective franchises or genres.
That wasn’t what Sean Murray, the face of No Man’s Sky in the lead up to it launch, did- he went radio silent once the game released, refusing to communicate with fans at all, leaving them in the dark, in the critical period when fans were feeling betrayed and let down. Communication wth fans, and reassurances that proper updates for the game were coming, were instrumental and crucial in this period- but Hello Games didn’t communicate with fans at all, though minor updates for the game were released irregularly.
I was unhappy with this, but I also felt that Hello Games maybe deserved to have some slack cut- they were a far smaller developer, this was their first ‘big’ game, and it had very clearly been a passion project. Maybe they had been depressed with the response to the game, and unable to cope.
But after today, I don’t think I can make any excuses for them going forward. Earlier today, someone gained access to Hello Games’ Twitter and email account, and made ‘official’ posts claiming that No Man’s Sky had been a mistake. Hello Games, understandably, sprung into action and had the tweets removed. That’s not the problem.
The problem is that this caused the sudden re-emergence of Sean Murray, who showed up on his Twitter account, making a casual, light hearted tweet about how Hello Games was watching the TV show Mr. Robot, and stating that the only mistake Hello Games had made had been to not secure their accounts with 2FA. He did not acknowledge the fans’ outcry and sense of “betrayal”, he did not acknowledge his own radio silence for nearly three months, and he did not acknowledge that he had refused to face up to criticism, and had only now decided to re-emerge, when his own name was potentially being slandered.
I think it is now abundantly clear, and I say this as someone who actually enjoyed No Man’s Sky at first- the game was a cynical product, its development led by a team who cares little about the product itself, or the game’s fanbase, and how they received the title. Today, it is clear- No Man’s Sky‘s developer clearly doesn’t give a damn about its fanbase.
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