We Spent an Hour Talking to Hello Games About Everything ‘No Man’s Sky’


#1

The launch of No Man’s Sky, one of the most anticipated games in recent memory, was rocky, at best. The infinite possibilities suggested by the game’s still-impressive 2013 teaser only snowballed, compounded by increasingly epic marketing materials, glowing impressions from the press, and interviews where the developers often promised the moon—and beyond.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/zmk4w8/we-spent-an-hour-talking-to-hello-games-about-everything-no-mans-sky

#2

I think what strikes me the most in this interview is that there is no clear apology from Sean Murray, and that’s all I wanted to hear. Features like multiplayer are not trivial to add, and at the time he was on TV telling the world you could see and discover other players, he was only a few months from release. Why would he do this? Was multiplayer actually working at the time? Given how long it has taken them to add it, this seems very unlikely. I wish the Waypoint staff had dug in to get some hard answers on this. Also, Hello Games defended themselves against an investigation by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, and argued that their trailers were not misleading. Getting commentary on that would have been useful, given that Sean Murray seems to acknowledge that the marketing for the game lead to outsized expectations.

Instead, we get a sort of philosophical discussion of pre-release hype and the nature of talking to the press. This, too me, is disappointing.


#3

“Ctrl F: Apologize… Nope. Ctrl F: Sorry… Nothing.” Okay then.

Ugh, I feel very similar here too. I wish he had said something apologetic sounding but I’m not getting that at all. He explains his thinking but it was just bad thinking, It fanned the fire to just go dark: doesn’t matter that you were working on the game if you didn’t say anything to the press or fans. Even if he had just said, “look I get it that this isn’t the game people thought they would get. We are sorry and will work on making it that game that we think it needs to be. Oh, and we are going to go dark for 2 years now because we can’t handle all the hate mail and such but don’t worry fans, because we are listening and we will be working on making the game we promised…” or whatever. That would have made such a difference. Instead we get this explanation that he felt like he didn’t have to talk to the press or fans, maybe he just had to stop. But you really can’t do that, unless you want people to feel like you don’t give a shit.

I’m a No Man’s Sky apologist up to this point. I think its a remarkable game, looked at without anything else. It’s far from perfect but there is also nothing else like it right now. But I don’t know. Maybe Sean Murray just needs to stop talking about this at all. I felt better when he didn’t talk at all. But here’s the thing: just hire someone to do your marketing and to talk to the press. Someone needs to do this, but it shouldn’t be Sean.


#4

To be honest, considering the waves of abuse that were washing over Hello Games at that time, I wouldn’t have said anything either. At that point anything you’re doing will just bring more shit your way. Not even mentioning that people that behave in such a hostile and entitled way are not deserving of an answer anyway.

And asking folks at Hello Game about this stuff would also legitimize the abuse, so I think it’s good that they just talked about the game and not about bogus bullshit that happened during its release.


#5

Great interview, guys!

The thing that bums me out about the whole situation is this:

Due to the toxicity of game fandom, developers have even less incentive to open up to their communities. The smart life (and business) decision is to make your game in silence, put out a scripted press release, and never talk extemporaneously about your game before it’s released. Why would you put yourself, your friends, and your family through this shit?


#6

Do you have a quite where they say there is multiplayer?


#7

The updates are the apology, and the ASA sided completely, on all counts, with HG. It was also clear at launch that there was no multiplayer in NMS. I think Sean Murray made it clear in this interview that he regrets talking about features that were in development.

Re-litigating the launch of NMS and demanding Sean Murray say sorry in a form of words you find acceptable is incredibly petty at this point. NMS is what it is, and I’m happy they carried on updating it.


#8

The ASA “investigation” wasn’t even an investigation, it was a manditory check that literally every game that goes on sale in the Uk goes through. It’s literally a casual conversation between 2 people. It got latched on to by people desperate to have their mad beleif that something shady was going on validated.

And god, seeing the “they went dark for 2 years” thing is really weird. Because variations of that have been tossed around at literally every major update to the game. It’s like turning up to a fair every year and asking why they didn’t show up last year.


#9

(lol, thought you meant the repeated phrase typo! :joy: Fixed that!)


#10

I REALLY have problems with the idea that Sean Murray needs to apologize to anyone. People getting hype to all hell over marketing, and then becoming a hate mob when the thing they bought wasn’t what they thought, aren’t the actions of reasonable people acting like adults. Just because your tantrum is really loud doesn’t mean you get what you want.

The gaming community owes Murray and Hello Games an apology if anything.


#11

I’m looking forward to going back and checking out NMS Next, because I haven’t played the game since the Foundation update but I always found it enjoyable in a kind of no-pressure chill way.

I don’t think Mr Murray needs to apologize to anyone. If one doesn’t have the empathy to hear his contrition about being an enthusiastic amateur when dealing with the press, and his regrets about that, then frankly I doubt any apology would be “good enough” for that kind of Gamer™. I don’t think those kinds of Gamers™ are truly looking for an apology, they want vengeance.


#12

This was a really interesting and excellent read, I’m eager to load up NMS next week and see what’s what. I’ve been playing in spurts since launch but never got any of the “endgame” stuff people have like a freighter and an exotic ship (those are dope, you should look them up if you get a chance).

I think that with all the countless incidents of harassment over (but not limited to) pieces of media from communities of people who want a specific version of a thing they had in their heads or even those who feel that they’ve been “wronged”—by a product of all things—need to get some perspective on things like: how they use their time and energy; and how they are enabling and are a vector for hatred, abuse, and toxicity.


#13

I empathize with the people who felt like they got burned on No Man’s Sky but only to a point. In the past I found the whole thing fascinating from a camel’s back view of pre-order culture in the gaming industry and how it all boiled over on to No Man’s Sky but the truth is that stuff got way too out of hand and after everything that’s gone down from launch onward from the backlash I sincerely don’t think anyone who doesn’t ‘get it’ at this point is ever going to. And they certainly aren’t owed an apology. There isn’t, and never was, an OUNCE of malice involved in No Man’s Sky from it’s developers.

That said, I’m really stoked to see this game face perpetual development, it’s such a daring and I think this was a cool interview that focused on a lot of things we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.


#14

Enjoyed the article! In regards to the new update, I want to know if the multiplayer content requires PS+, assuming the answer is yes. BUT, currently you do still get to access the database of player discoveries and planet names without it, so it has me wondering.

I played this at launch and periodically give it a try for a few hours now and then. Recently I started a new game and getting into restoring old junker spaceships you find crashed into planets from time to time. Had some hairy situations where I didn’t have enough resources to repair the engines and I’m on a super toxic planet. In a practical sense, the cost and time outweigh the value of the ships so far but its fun.


#15

I liked the part where you roasted Patrick.


#16

Murray’s entire public presence since the game’s announcement has been extraordinary, all the way through this interview. He doesn’t seem to want to peddle in clear-cut facts, as is expected of him. He seems to think they are boring. He deals in broad feelings and intent, in a way that is reflective of the kind of person he is: an artist.

He hasn’t ‘correctly’ participated in the existing paradigm of public/press/creator communication through the words that he uses, the way he personalizes his answers, and the indirect responses he has given, and continues to give. Perhaps he simply doesn’t know how to fit into that mold, or he’s testing the mold, or maybe he has simply decided not to bend in the way that the other participants (the public and the press) expect him to for any number of reasons.

Whatever the case, it has been interesting to witness. It’s shown very clearly how significant pre-release press is to the perceived nature of the game post-release. Is it a problem that the quality of the game itself is significantly determined by what we thought the game would be, before we even got our hands on it? I’d say yes, it is. As such, I feel like Murray has proven (to his detriment, in a variety of ways) that pre-release press cycles need to change. They don’t work well for anyone.


#17

Any chance of releasing the audio of the interview in the podcast feed? I have a lot more free time to engage with stuff that can be combined with walking the dog.


#18

Yeah I was hoping for that too but unfortunately Austin said “Sadly not!” on twitter when he was asked.


#19

What a great read. I find Murray so interesting because he clearly has a passion and an idea he has tried to materialise and good on him for trying. It’s still a shame to hear people expecting an apology from Hello Games. Creators don’t owe consumers anything, and hyperbole is littered throughout pre release press for movies and TV, I thought it was just common sense at this point to ‘not board the hype train’ so to speak.
At the end of the day nobody was forced to pre-order No Mans Sky and then be disappointed, I got it day one, because I didn’t believe the hype, I got the experience I expected from the game and I loved my time with it. I haven’t played since any of the updates and will likely get it for my Xbox and thus start from scratch and have a completely different experience.


#20

@Saibot Unfortunately no! Agreement was for text transcript only.