Creator Sean Murray admits the development team talked about the game “way earlier than we should have”.
Of the many controversies we’ve seen in gaming over the years, the launch of Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky is arguably one of the most memorable. Though it received middling reviews from critics at the time and was disappointing for the general crowd, a very vocal minority would even go as far as harassing and threatening the developer for its shortcomings.
The Guardian spoke to the game’s creator Sean Murray in one of his first interviews since the game’s launch, and while addressing the aforementioned “angry mob”, he also admitted to many mistakes leading up to communication before release. One interesting bit is how a “very light” multiplayer was planned for launch. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.
“A very light multiplayer was envisioned for launch and we fought right up until the end to add it, but it was immensely challenging and we knew it was something that only a handful of people would experience due to the size of the universe,” said Murray. “We later added a version of it for the Atlas Rises update, and it was nice, but not hugely impactful to people’s enjoyment. What players really wanted was the kind of multiplayer we are adding now.”
Murray also told Eurogamer in a separate interview that the developer “talked about the game way earlier than we should have.” The development team was small, and while the aspirations were there, things didn’t work out in a practical sense.
“We would go way down some routes sometimes and they wouldn’t turn out to be a good idea,” Murray said. “Other things we were fighting to get into the game until the last breath, basically. Multiplayer was one of those things. To be super clear—multiplayer at that time was the way we had talked about it.
“It was something that’d happen to people super infrequently. In play-testing it was of almost no value to the player—it was just a cool thing, a cool moment that some people would have, and we talked about it with the press that there’s this cool thing that would maybe make a story sometime. But it’s a big complicated thing for that payoff. We were fighting for it until pretty much the final hours of the game.”
With No Man’s Sky NEXT, Hello Games will be adding full multiplayer support for squads and random players. Cooperation is possible but you can also fight other players to survive. The new third-person perspective also goes hand in hand with character customization. Large space battles are also possible, in addition to building multiple bases. No Man’s Sky NEXT arrives on July 24th for PS4 and PC. The Xbox One version of the base game launches on the same day, and will receive the big update at launch. Free weekly updates with events and missions will follow post-launch.