The No Man’s Sky’s Reviewer’s Note Is Fascinating (And Mentions Australia)

The No Man’s Sky’s Reviewer’s Note Is Fascinating (And Mentions Australia)

No Man’s Sky is out tomorrow in Australia, but we’ve just received our copy. It comes with a note from game director Sean Murray and it’s sincerely interesting.

I’ll just post it here for your reading pleasure.

I feel sick writing this.
You are about to play No Man’s Sky and I don’t know what you’ll think.
I know I’m proud of it. I’m incredibly proud of the tiny team that is making a game at a scale that’s never been done before. At times I can squint my eyes and see that we’re generating entire planets, solar systems, galaxies on a PS4, and see that maybe that could be a part of how games are made in the future.

At times I can let myself feel proud that our indie game is going to be in shops. That we have a media kit! That you are even taking the time to play our game, when our previous games might not have.

I know I’ve watched playtesters get totally consumed in our universe… but I’ve also seen people feel lost. I’ve seen kids weaned on Minecraft lose themselves, and I’ve seen others feel lost. I don’t know how you’ll feel. I don’t know if we can ever live up to the hype we’ve generated, sometimes knowingly, often not.

I know my strongest memory growing up in the outback of Australia, seeing the stars at night, and feeling overwhelmed. Reading sci-fi and wishing I could escape into those worlds. If for one small moment I can make some people feel tar they have stepped through a science fiction book cover, or to think briefly about the size of our universe… then I’ll be happy with that.

Thank you so much for taking the time to play.
I appreciate it. Hope you enjoy.

It’s not completely unique for review copies to come with notes from the developer, but it is rare. It’s rarer still for them to have this sort of tone. I don’t know how I feel about it. It makes me understand the pressure of making and releasing a game like this, the weight of that expectation. It’s powerful. I’m glad I don’t have to review it, that’s for sure.

It’s also nice to think that Australia, and the night sky, was an inspiration for this game. That’s pretty cool.


  • some part of me doesn’t even really care if the game isnt good at first, because I would rather independents devs try and do things like this, than copy everything that has come before. I would rather see a divisive or even failed attempt, than a year CoD that takes no risks.

    • That’s a great way of looking at it. I’m not actually very interested in NMS but I love the fact that things like this can exist.

    • Indie dev’s are always making unique, different games.The makers of CoD are definitely not indies, but I get what you’re saying and I’m with you, as I wasn’t that interested if this game did well either, just glad an Indie dev was able to deliver a AAA game..

    • I think like all things ‘new’ I am excited to see what is next… this is just a beginning, and with success it will become a new thing that, it self, will be copied and improved on.

      Good times for space loving gamers.

    • That’s why I always defend Destiny when I can. I know they are triple A, but i’d argue that the risk of not “playing it safe” is even higher. Regardless of how successful people subjectively believe that game was, at least it was something new and risky and brave, and it should be praised for that.

      As for Sean Murray, he seems like the nicest most genuine dude in game development, I hope this game brings him the success he seems he deserves.

      • exactly thats why I love Destiny as well, because its not a safe choice, sure I would loved to seen how it would have been before Activision stuck their nose in but that said still so much it feels unique, as a result I always end up back there.

  • Hopefully the Dev’s attention to detail is better than Kotaku’s OCR attempt of the letter 😉

    In all seriousness, does anyone know where in the ‘outback’ he grew up?

  • I am fighting my own set of rules about not pre-ordering anything just to support this sort of indie development…and I get some sick feeling that the PSN price will go up after launch, such is the level of stupid with Sony sometimes…

    • I have never, ever preordered, I’m opposed to the concept. But thinking of a small company and how stretched their finances must be toward the end of a massive project like this; well, I preordered as soon as I was able. Because I feared they might not make it as well as they could when they may be running out of cash in the last mile. (cant be arsed with proper sentence structure, you get the point)

  • A bit cheeky of the Dev to put a note like this in there. It would be really interesting to do a controlled study – half of the reviewers kits are sent out without a note from the director, and the other half are sent with the note. Then you look at the average review scores from each cohort, and see if it is significantly higher within the group of reviewers that had the note from the director included. I have a feeling that it may very slightly increase the review score.

    • Well it isn’t really much different to an artist introducing their work, or a director their film on first showing to audiences. It’s actually kind of nice to see some human touch in a major video game release since so much of it is ground out sequels and big business franchises. I can’t imagine it would affect review scores greatly, but I’m sure the note will be mentioned in text body by some reviewers. I’m also sure that some reviewers are already geared up to add +1 to any review score based on the scope, development and history of the game (which isn’t inherently a terrible thing and does happen often with critics of just about anything you care to name).

  • In all honestly, Sean Murray has been so frank, honest, and endearing throughout the entire No Man’s Sky development process that part of the reason I’m buying this game on day one is for him and his team. It really feels like a group of indies were given a 1 in a million shot so they decided to go all in, and now even they are shocked to see that all of the risk might actually be about to pay off.

    • I feel like he’s taken us on a journey and has been so personable that yes – I am buying this to support him lol

  • Hi Mark, I think it was back in the late 80s or early 90s there was a computer gaming magazine that had an article that perfectly describes No Man’s Sky, the funny thing was the the mag was a April issue and it turns out the article was meant as a joke. Obviously now it has come true, it is amazing to see such open world games of this scale, it would be cool if you could find the original article, I think it may have been in C&VG mag but am not sure.

    • Would love to see this. Maybe Hello Games has it pinned on their wall among the heinously mutilated SF books.

    • Why would you assume there’s nothing to do? Sounds like there’s heaps to do. What do you define as “nothing”?

      • Ok well, flying around “discovering things” isn’t something I define as fun.
        I need a goal, I need constant Progression and skill gates, a level of difficulty and failure along the way, I need Bigger ships, up-gradable ships, followers/NPC’s, Base Building capabilities, or an HQ establishment ability, lots of puzzles utilizing a variation of game mechanics and skills, many small battles, some sort of large scale battle/challenge, appropriate rewards and interesting lore throughout the game.

        Theres more but i cant think of it right now.

        • Ok so I just played for the first time last night and there’s definitely goals and progression (there’s quests and a story). There’s upgradable ships and as far as i can tell there are bigger ones too. Base building is in next patch. The rest of the stuff you are asking for was stuff that was never really ever going to be in the game but have a go and see what you think.

          There’s definitely not “nothing” to do.

  • Even if the game doesn’t live up to the hype it’s just great seeing such a dedicated, small team so passionate about their project and thoughtful about those playing it. Devs like this really make me love the gaming industry.

  • I don’t think this is a ploy by the dev to try to get better reviews. From everything I’ve seen, Murray has poured his heart and soul into this game and his letter seems very sincere.

    I really hope the game is successful. I want to buy it, but am waiting to see what the general consensus is. I hope for everyone’s sake that it’s a hit.

  • If you look at their previous game, and the size of their team, it feels like this game has snowballed beyond their wildest dreams in terms of hype and expectation. You can probably safely assume Sony saw their idea and threw bucket loads of money and tools at them to make sure it went to their console.

    Sean’s weariness has been noticeable in interviews for a long time now. His indie studio has the most hyped game of the year somehow, and that’s daunting for anyone. So I found this letter to be endearing rather than anything else

    I really hope the game is great, for their sake more so than the fans.

    • Actually sony tried to throw bucket loads of money at them and they refused except for the marketing, Sean put a second mortgage on his own house to pay for development

    • I’m convinced at this point that they’re so desperate to get people to actually read Business Insider that they just run articles that have nothing to do with business at all to lure people across. From ‘scientists discover a new kind of fire’ to a bookful of Olympics articles and random stuff about US politics, to a shipwreck that appears every now and then in Massachusetts. Seems like ‘business’ in the loosest possible sense of the word.

  • what a legend. ive always had a soft spot for this game after seeing some interviews with Sean and even when he said “its not a multiplayer game, if you want a good space multiplayer game, play Destiny, its a great game, but it not what we are trying to do”

    right there, you know they are just trying to make a game that isnt trying to be everything at once, even though it has a lot of things you can do. he also recognises, its a game that isnt for everyones taste and never tried to market or sell it that way.

    i really wish i had the cash to spare to support this guy and this game, as it is something i know i would find rather therapeutic and relaxing and enjoyable. but times are hard, so im going to have to wait until i can get my hands on a discounted copy.

    all the best to the devs. hope it pays off for them.

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