To say gamers got off on the wrong foot with No Man’s Sky would be something of an understatement. If you were to look at the state of the Hello Games developed space exploration adventure in 2019, you’d never suspect that back in 2016 it was one of the most hated games of the generation.
An awful lot of this comes down to creator Sean Murray’s insistence on making pre-launch promises regarding massive features that simply weren’t in No Man’s Sky upon release, but Hello Games has worked hard over the last few years to bring their game more in line with they – and the fans – wanted it to be.
Despite heaps of (admittedly justifiable) criticism upon launch, hating on No Man’s Sky quickly became something of a trendy thing to do within the gaming community, with plenty of memes and in-jokes aimed against Murray and Hello Games.
In fact, Murray himself recently suggested that the majority of people who criticised and attacked No Man’s Sky at the time hadn’t even played the game – around 80 percent of detractors, apparently.
Speaking at the Develop conference in Brighton yesterday, Murray explained that the team discovered a “huge percentage of people talking about No Man’s Sky online didn’t own or play the game.” with “70 or 80 percent of conversation” about the game coming from people who’d never even played it.
It’s not entirely clear how Hello Games worked these figures out, but Murray said a lot of the criticism really wasn’t that helpful, as it had to do with the game’s price, pre-orders, and other issues that “developers can’t change.”
Despite this, Hello Games found some helpful feedback buried in the noise:
You get to this point where you’re actually reading something from someone who has played the game a lot so know it quite well – and this is almost your second most important group once you get rid of the noise – there are people out there saying something simple like: ‘I don’t like your inventory system.’ Once you get to that point, as a developer, [you] think ‘I can fix that. Literally, I will go in tomorrow and fix that. We have a lot in common now – you’ve played the game for a couple of hundred hours, I’ve done the same.’
During his talk, Murray also suggested that the teams behind Fallout 76 and Anthem, who have experienced rocky launches of their own, would be better off staying fairly quiet for the time being and simply focus on improving their games.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.