The No Man’s Sky Review Copy Debacle

The No Man’s Sky Review Copy Debacle

Early this week, the review aggregator OpenCritic caused widespread panic when they tweeted about publications not receiving early review copies of No Man’s Sky. It was just the beginning of what would become a week-long debacle involving one of the most hyped games of the year.

On Tuesday, OpenCritic sent out a rather simple tweet: “Several publications, incl some large ones, have reported to us that they won’t be receiving No Man’s Sky review copies prior to launch.” It immediately led to massive threads on Reddit and NeoGAF. Gamers, already worried that No Man’s Sky is destined to be the next Spore, saw this as a red flag.

Publishers typically send out review copies a week or two before a game’s release day, although it’s not uncommon for codes to arrive just a few days or even a day in advance. Once in a while, as with this year’s Doom, a publisher will decide not to send out early codes at all. No Man’s Sky was an unusual situation, however, because a copy of the game had already leaked over the weekend. The person playing it had been posting impressions and footage for days, and the community was already freaking out over reported bugs and other issues.

Although OpenCritic switched gears the next day — “We can confirm that there are advanced review copies planned for No Man’s Sky later this wk.” — the debacle continued throughout the week, as more leaked copies began to emerge. No Man’s Sky fans are a, um, passionate bunch, and their reactions were not exactly restrained.

Sony’s reps, who have been handling marketing and PR duties for No Man’s Sky, have informed reviewers that they’re waiting on a ‘pre-launch patch’ before sending out codes. As of this morning, those codes were not out yet. Which is why I thought it was strange when last night my friends list was full of journalists playing No Man’s Sky, and when this morning I saw Polygon streaming the first hour of the game.

As it turns out, several major gaming outlets including Polygon went out and bought the game from one of the stores in New York City that have broken street date and are selling the game right now. The pre-launch patch is not up yet, and review codes aren’t officially out, but several reviewers already have the game. (We’re going to hunt for it now.) The debacle continues.


  • If the patch is coming out before launch, then I think it is fair enough, no point reviewing bugs that are not going to exist when the game launches.

      • and yet two years later Destiny is still going MASSIVELY strong, you know despite all those bad reviews and the mindless online sheeple hate campaign against it. It still makes me smile just thinking how many people still get annoyed by it compared to how many epic gaming hours it has given me and all the others who still play.

        yeah those bad reviews of Destiny were important in the long run. Roll eyes.

        • haha exactly, ttk was the highest selling digital content on release day on psn and rise of iron has even more preorders then that, haters just love feeling edgy and cool

        • Yeh generally I think the general aggregate of reviews for new games is not to bad – once I factor in the huge score bump indies and social justice games get. However they were completely wrong on Destiny. Even the release version ( I havent played expansions) was awesome for me. Solid 9/10. Sadly I think its the case that the more prerelease hype a game has the harder it is judged, and Destiny had a shitload of hype.

          • I think one of the big problem destiny faced was who the developer was and the rose tinted glasses halo fans have, people forget that the story for halo ce and halo 2 was actually in books released later, bungie has always been the masters of gameplay but severely lacked in story telling

        • Yeah whenever I see someone talking shit about Destiny I just roll my eyes now. They clearly have no intention of changing their opinion in light of new developments / information (expansions / patches), so don’t even bother with them. That said, even vanilla Destiny is easily one of the best games released this generation. Even well reviewed games like Far Cry 4 were ruined for me because I played them right after Destiny and its supernatural gameplay and controls made competent shooters seem like trash.

  • If it’s a debacle, then it’s caused my retailers breaking street dates and journos not doing the right thing (Polygon?!). I don’t see how this is the fault of the games publisher at all

    • Since when have Polygon ever done the right thing… did you ever see their Doom gameplay coverage? lol. It was like watching a one legged man enter an ass kicking competition lol


      This strip and the accompanying news post will remain topical through the ages. That an endeavour well known for hyperbole, betrayal and sabotage in the name of profit such as games journalism/criticism is also known for complaining whenever their usual victims display lack of trust or unwillingness to collaborate is as amusing as it is mindblowingly ridiculous.

  • i think gaming media are doing an absolute horrible job with this games coverage. They shouldn’t have been promoting the idiot who got his game earlier from some questionable source and promoting the “omg you got to the centre in 30 hours” crap. Then this junk.

    Gamers being upset these days is not news, its just an embarrassment. Imagine if the passionate people screaming about these review copies were as passionate about actual real world issues, the world might be a better but no. its all whaaa whaaa… Guys its a game, no one is forcing you to preorder. Wait a day or day. Watch some streams. Wait for the reviews. In this case all you are missing are some starter credits and a ship. Who cares.

    but to get upset or surprised that corporate publishers are playing corporate publisher games is a waste of energy. Personally I think the devs deserve better but for such a small team to deliver a big games they need to make deals with such ‘devils’. Thats just a real world (but unpleasant) reality.

    Listening to gamers complain about the lack if review copies is just hilariously sad.

  • meh dont need a review, plenty of raw footage in the wild to watch, most reviews just follow popular opinion anyways

  • Easy fix. Day One patch that wipes any progress made before it is installed. That’ll teach the cretins.

  • The entitled consumer mob mentality is really one of the worst aspects of gaming.
    People love to hide behind keyboards and trash games that are either not yet out or they haven’t played.
    Or they give 0/10 ratings on metacritic like stupid little children.

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