No Man’s Sky may not have been the ultimate in procedural space sims, but for some, it was good enough. A new update has renewed interest in the title and Hello Games frontman Sean Murray is talking again. He even presented at this year’s GDC, revealing a few fascinating tidbits about the game’s launch and the company’s future.
ArsTechnica’s Sam Machkovech sat in on Murray’s talk, where the developer provided a surprising amount of information on No Man’s Sky‘s troubled release.
For instance, Hello Games was not at all prepared for the number of concurrent players at launch. Murray predicted around 14,000, based on Far Cry: Primal's Steam figures. That guess was way, way off. As Machkovech writes:
Turns out, the game wound up with 500,000 concurrent players on day one, and 250,000 of those were playing on a wide range of PCs. The total number overwhelmed the staff's "networking team," which Murray said consisted of solely one staffer ("and that was only one of his jobs... and we had half a billion discoveries uploaded [by players]"). Also, of those quarter-million PC players, roughly one percent had crash dump data reporting back to Hello Games.
From 14,000 to 500,000. That's an increase of around 3471.5 per cent.
Cash also appears to have been a factor -- how much of a factor isn't clear, but it was brought up by Murray during the presentation:
While describing the company's history, Murray admitted that Hello Games was "running out of money" while making No Man's Sky, all while juggling the challenge of "trying to finish something you care about really creatively."
Interestingly, Murray's presentation ended with something called "Hello Labs". Machkovech and the slides accompanying his article describe it as a sort of incubator for experimental and procedural games, with two games under its wing -- one of which is already in development.
Apparently, the idea is that Labs will provide support and funding, though very little information was given, other than an email address: