Someone Please Stop Sean Murray From Hyping Up No Man’s Sky’s Successor

Someone Please Stop Sean Murray From Hyping Up No Man’s Sky’s Successor
Sean Murray presenting No Man's Sky at E3 2015 (Photo: Christian Petersen, Getty Images)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: During a recent IGN interview, Hello Games managing director Sean Murray talked up the studio’s new venture as “something pretty ambitious.”

“Similar to No Man’s Sky, it’s the kind of project that even if we had a thousand people working on it, it’d still seem impossible,” Murray said.

No Man’s Sky, as you may recall, was sold with the same kind of effusive language. However, a huge list of features Murray promised pre-launch, such as being able to see other players online, were infamously missing when the game arrived on store shelves.

And sure, while much of the disappointment can also be attributed to an unchecked pre-release hype train and the harsh realities of making games, it’s hard to ignore all the times No Man’s Sky’s scope was exaggerated. Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida even admitted shortly after release that the grandiose PR strategy behind the Sony-published game “wasn’t great.”

When he broke his silence two years later, Murray agreed, but also talked about the damaging effects the vitriolic response to No Man’s Sky had on Hello Games.

“This team that made the game is incredibly talented and they made something that’s really interesting — and that [controversy] should not be what defines them,” Murray told Eurogamer during a 2018 post-mortem. “No Man’s Sky should be the game that was super ambitious and was made by a small team and went on to grow bigger and have a cool community around it. That’s what I want to talk about.”

In the years since, Hello Games has managed to shift public perception of No Man’s Sky by releasing several widely popular, free-of-charge updates, the latest of which overhauled space combat and expanded upon the game’s criminal underworld. It won a BAFTA for “Best Evolving Game” just last week.

Murray, for his part, says he’s learned his lesson about promoting a game too early in development — and for what it’s worth, he isn’t yet sharing any details about the studio’s ambitious new project — but I still can’t help but see shades of the same mistakes he made with No Man’s Sky in these latest comments. Hello Games’ obvious talent aside, it feels like Murray’s talk of making an “impossible” game is setting up yet another series of rakes for them to step on. Why would you even say something like this after all you went through last time?

The next part of this story is just for Sean Murray, so please go read something else.

Seriously, the blog is over if you’re not Sean Murray from Hello Games. Close the window. Thank you.

Sean, I like you. You seem like a really sweet, earnest guy. But we’ve been down this road. Sometimes, your eagerness can get you in trouble. I don’t want you or anyone at Hello Games to experience the same crap as those terrible months after No Man Sky came out.

The next time you want to say something wild about whatever it is you’re developing, maybe take a beat and ask yourself if now is the right moment to share that with the public. As an ostensible member of the press, it’s ok if you just ignore us for a while. We’ll understand.

 

Comments

  • Oi. Leave the guy alone. If anyone in the industry has learnt his lesson and has the right to do what he wants, it’s this guy.

      • They eventually delivered what was promised, even if it was years down the track. Meanwhile we have CP2077 which will NEVER be fixed to what was advertised and Star Citizen that’ll never release. Hello Games at least has a history of right their wrongs unlike all of the other companies, with CDPR now chief among the ranks of EA and CDPR for scams..

        • it should never be a standard that it’s okay to pump out a load of shit as long as you fix it later down the road.

          You are encouraging publisher laziness.

          You want every game to be like Battlefield 2042? Because that’s what is gonna happen if you accept the standard. Hello games should be praised for being willing to fix the game, But under no circumstance should it absolve them for outright lying about the game initially.

          • “it should never be a standard that it’s okay to pump out a load of shit as long as you fix it later down the road.”

            Welcome to literally every big AAA game these days ever. Hell, look at ‘early access’, which is literally built around this model. Baldurs Gate 3 for example, charging 90 bucks on Steam, allowing itself to be fixed as it goes. You can still play them, but you have to chance it will turn out ok… it’s not ideal, it’s not even good. Unfortunately it’s how it’s gone.

            “You are encouraging publisher laziness.”

            No argument there at all. We all, as consumers, have done it. Right back to making Modern Warfare 2 succesful despite it using peer to peer servers. Best thing to do is not to buy a product, talk with your wallet, but that never, ever happens.

            “You want every game to be like Battlefield 2042? Because that’s what is gonna happen if you accept the standard. Hello games should be praised for being willing to fix the game, But under no circumstance should it absolve them for outright lying about the game initially.”

            They’ve never been absolved of it, and people always remind them of it. However they should be praised for bringing their game up to the standard it should’ve been after such a disaster. As I stated elsewhere, with Sony pushing them, them being delusional about what they were offering etc, it was a clusterfuck. I DO hope he’s learnt his lesson personally and pulls the reigns in a little. However at the same time, they *do* definitely deserve praise for going above and beyond with the patched content and extra content they’ve provided over the years for the game, bringing it beyond where it was going to be. It’s well and truly beyond what it originally was envisioned as now, for that, they deserve praise. For not delivering on their original vision, absolutely it should never be forgotten. However, there does come a point where the hyperbole has to stop.

      • “that got away with it”
        There’s been 20 updates big enough to get their own title since release. What the hell are you smoking?

      • That’s a bit harsh when you look into what actually happened. The fact that Sony themselves pushed the unreasonable expectations, shoved the company into a situation where they had to release the game well ahead of time? Now they’ve stuck to their guns and gone well above and beyond delivering free content after free content, he’s definitely learnt his lesson about burning people I’d say. They could’ve walked from NMS after the second year, leaving it in a fairly complete state even back then after the second major patch, but it’s kept going. In that regard, they’ve definitely earnt more respect than the be begrudgingly labelled ‘scam artists’.

    • Don’t overhype your game seems pretty good advice, no?

      And given that making an impossible game is, by definition, impossible, we’re already there, yes?

      So, given the above, I’m curious how you’ve come to the conclusion that “he’s learnt his lesson”.

      I mean, great that five years later NMS now has content that was promised at launch, but Hello Games wasn’t selling an early access game or running a kickstarter, it was selling a finished product.

      Seriously, if I pay for an iPhone and you send me a Nokia, sending me the iPhone I originally paid for five years later doesn’t get you off the hook for the original bait and switch.

      • How have I gotten to that conclusion? I dunno, maybe five plus years of continually patching the living shit out of his game. Not releasing paid DLC or microtransactions, sticking to his guns of fixing the game into a more than playable game. Sticking to his original vision and actually having the ethics to be there the long haul rather than cutting and running like some other bigger game developers HAVE done in more recent years. Yeah they sold a finished product, and yeah it went tits up, but even two years in after release, the game had more DLC and was in better shape than Cyberpunk is at this point? So that’s how I came to that conclusion, it is what it is and facts speak for themselves. You can’t change history, but you can correct your actions, that’s what they’ve done.

        You paid for an iPhone, you didn’t get what you wanted, that sucks. However, they did go back to the drawing board, redesigned it, apologised for it and sent you out a better iPhone later on, apologising profusely for it and not charging you for all the following updates you got for it that made it better.

    • No.

      This guy is still a POS, still pretty much denies he was straight up lying in the final run up to NMS release.
      He should be treated exactly how people treat EA as a whole

  • “This team that made the game is incredibly talented and they made something that’s really interesting — and that [controversy] should not be what defines them,”

    You can’t just straight faced lie to people to trick them into spending money on your game and then decide you don’t want to have a reputation as a liar.

    You wear the consequences of your bad actions.

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