“No Man’s Sky,” developed by Hello Games.
Since being announced and shown off in 2013, “No Man’s Sky” looked to be a step forward in regards to what was possible for gaming at the time. It allowed players to seemingly explore multiple planets in a vast universe, as easy as jumping into the cockpit of your personal spacecraft and flying into space, then into the orbit of a new planet, potentially being the first to discover it.
The gameplay shown off in 2013 showed no signs of loading in the transition from orbit to orbit. It was puzzling as much as it was amazing. How is it possible to fly to an entire planet without having to wait a few minutes for it to load in?
“No Man’s Sky” looked to be a true space exploration game. No warzone featuring advanced alien species. No commanding a fleet of space marines. Just you, your spacecraft and the universe before you.
The idea is a simple, but novel one. Create a beautiful and endless galaxy, full of trillions of planets, and leave it for the player to explore. Nothing less, nothing more.
So given all the excitement in the two plus years since the announcement of the game, why is “No Man’s Sky” averaging reviews of 60/100 on Metacritic? Why is Steam offering refunds for the game? Why is developer Hello Games currently facing an investigation due to the game?
“No Man’s Sky” showed that it is possible for your audience to get too excited for your game. It also showed that being vague in hopes of surprising the players does not always pan out.
Lead developer of Hello Games, Sean Murray, stated that he wanted the players to be excited for his game. He did not reveal much information in the interviews and gameplay demos leading up to the release of his game. It was a welcome approach to the release of a highly anticipated game in this generation, where things are not kept secret for long due to leaks.
The excitement surrounding “No Man’s Sky” and lack of information left the fans thirsty and had their imaginations running wild. Imaginations would run wild the for the entire two year span since the announcement to the release. Unfortunately for gamers, the idea of the game seemed to surpass the actual game.
When “No Man’s Sky” was finally released on August 9, players were left underwhelmed. The game was unable to live up to the years of speculation and hype. It was unable to be what the players wanted it to be.
Did the players get their hopes up? Were their expectations too unrealistic? Was Sean Murray and Hello Games in the wrong for not being more straightforward about the game?
Nearly two full months since the release of “No Man’s Sky” and it feels like an afterthought. Steam has offered refunds on the game for disgruntled gamers who bought it expecting something else. And as of last week, an investigative lawsuit was launched towards Hello Games on the grounds of false advertisement.
Personally, I do not think Hello Games should be held responsible for something as serious as false advertisement.
However, I do believe that their vagueness and ambiguity, especially in the months leading up to the release, was misjudged and not the best decision.
“No Man’s Sky” is a fun game. It just isn’t the game we thought it was going to be. It is an incident unlike any other that I have seen in gaming. It has proven that there can be too much of a good thing.