One Man’s Lie? How about One Man’s HOPE?

As of this point with the title, I’m pretty sure we all know what game I’m talking about without even looking at the image. Yes, another No Man’s Sky article. I swore I wouldn’t write about it, but as of now, I can’t help it. The hate train is very strong and honestly I’m getting sick and tired of seeing everyone hate on the game, especially those in the Indie Development community, whom this article is mainly focused at.

I’m going to start off by saying that I have yet to play the game, so if you want to give me flak about that, then so be it. I’m on the outside looking in on this situation. I’m not a part of Hello Games, nor am I a part of Sony. I’m not a fanboy as some would try to say. I’m approaching this entire subject from a neutral standpoint. I’ve chosen not to play the game up to this point because I’ve wanted to remain neutral and also because everyone should know by now that most games recently are released full of bugs due to harsh deadlines, so I choose to wait a month at least before picking up any new games just so the developers have all the major issues ironed out. What I have done, though, is read just about every article published about the game and its “shortcomings”. I’ve also watched just about every video that has been published surrounding the interviews, the reviews, and the “edited interviews” such as the more popular one “An honest interview with Sean Murray”. I will not provide links to any of these things specifically because that is not the point of this article. The point of this article is to shed some light on things that are quite frankly not really mentioned much by anyone since there is so much hate flying around.

I’m overall disappointed in a very large portion of the Indie Dev community, not only on Facebook but on Twitter and Reddit as well. There is so much hate flying around that I’m actually embarrassed to be a part of the community right now. The Indie Developer’s community is supposed to be a community of developers that are there to help, support, and encourage each other but most of what I’ve seen just ends up being endless crap-slinging and insults toward Hello Games and especially Sean Murray. Everyone has seemed to forget that Sean Murray is only human just like everyone else, yet they expect him to be 100% perfect. People like Jim Sterling from Jimquisition also puts him on blast. Now, someone like Jim who is very popular in the gaming world and has been around the industry for a long time should at least have the common decency to also cover the potential unforeseen circumstances that could have happened behind closed doors between Hello Games and Sony. I love Jim and his reviews but I’d have hoped he’d have covered a lot more into the actual development process and the things that can happen in any given project when you have deadlines imposed on you by any AAA publisher, let alone Sony.

The most common complaint in regards to No Man’s Sky and Sean Murray/HG seems to be these assumptions that he “lied” about a lot of “core” features that were supposed to be in the game. Like I said, I’ve watched just about every interview that exists with Sean Murray. What I see is a guy speaking on behalf of himself and his development team toward the passion that he has toward the game and toward the features that he planned to include in the game. What I see is a guy having every intention of implementing those features in the final product. What most people don’t understand here is that game development, in general, comes with an enormous amount of unforeseen circumstances that could happen especially when dealing with AAA publishing. Most people who have worked in AAA before know that deadlines are very unforgiving. When there is a deadline imposed on you by a publisher, you cannot miss that deadline under any circumstances. I was actually very surprised to hear that Hello Games was able to delay the release of No Man’s Sky, to begin with. When the game was first announced, it was targetted at hardcore gamers who liked to explore, discover and figure things out. The problem was that Sony marketed it to everyone (as they tend to do specifically to increase sales) instead of only the intended audience. This game was originally intended for a very niche audience, that definitely doesn’t mean everyone.

What everyone needs to do is take a step back and look at the bigger picture here. Everything that Sean Murray said, he most likely fully intended on including in the game upon release. When you are an Indie without deadlines imposed by a AAA publisher, you can take all the time in the world to complete your game to your exact specifications. When you have deadlines imposed by a publisher, sometimes things don’t always work out how you expect them to. Sometimes features need to be cut in order to meet that deadline. For all any of us know, Sean Murray and Hello Games were actively working on many of the systems that they talked about having in the game. Now, of course, I’m speculating but why wouldn’t they? Would it make any sense whatsoever not to be working on any of the features discussed in any of the interviews? No, it most definitely would not. I don’t know about anyone else but I like to keep an open mind about things and think of the bigger picture and not just what everyone else is saying, talking about, or complaining about. From my experience in game development, chances are they were indeed working on the “missing features” including multi-player support in the months prior to the release. Are we considering the fact that the game was indeed delayed? Why was the game delayed? Don’t you think that possibly the reason it was delayed was because they were trying to get these “missing features” implemented and/or working before the release? Sony allowed them 1 delay for some extra time to get things done. They couldn’t get things working by the deadline so they had to be cut. I don’t know about anyone else but me personally, coming from a developer’s perspective, I’d rather cut a feature and add it later fully polished than release the game and have said feature be broken. He was going to get flak for it regardless, but he would have gotten arguably MORE flak for releasing it broken than not having it at all upon release.

Anyone who’s familiar with game development knows that things like this happen. For people to go off and rant about Murray and Hello Games, knowing these things happen especially in AAA development is very much jumping on the hate train with everyone else and not having an open mind to the bigger picture of dealing with a AAA publisher. Anyone who’s an indie developer and is hating on Murray or HG should be ashamed of themselves.Surely there have been times in your lives where you’ve wanted things to turn out a certain way and have said things were going to be a certain way with your game but because of unforeseen circumstances, you either had to change the plans or change your mind entirely and remove it. If you’ve said something like this has never happened in your life, you’re a liar yourself. We’re all human, nobody is perfect. For anyone to expect Sean Murray or Hello Games to be inhuman and be 100% perfect is not very reasonable at all. Anybody can say if they were in Sean’s position that they would have done things differently. It’s easy to say that, but unless you’ve actually been in the position to deal with a AAA publisher, you honestly have no idea what it’s like or what you’d do in any given circumstance, especially when you are bound by an important contract such as that.

Now, I’m not going to say Sean Murray and Hello Games are entirely innocent because they aren’t. They very well could have cleared the air and talked to their fans about the changes or cuts that had to be made as soon as they had to be made. After all, being transparent about your business, especially when you have so many people relying on you to release a good product, is of the utmost importance to most consumers and is arguably a direct result of why they’ve received so much flak. The fact that Sean/HG didn’t address these things might not be entirely their fault, though. None of us know the specifics of the contract between HG and Sony. We don’t know if Sean or Hello Games were sworn to secrecy about certain aspects of the game (or lack thereof). We don’t know this. Everyone assumes that because there was nothing said that the game was released anyway maliciously with the sole intent on being dishonest to the fanbase. Why is that? Why do people assume that he released the game knowing that features were cut and did so purposely just to rip people off? I mean come on, seriously? There are some people in the world that would do exactly that but Sean never came off as that kind of a person to me at all. How do we know that Sony, being really popular and an authority figure in the game industry, didn’t superimpose said authority on HG/Sean and make sure that he couldn’t talk about certain aspects of the game just so Sony had a fall guy when they rushed the release and wouldn’t let them delay anymore? You don’t. You speculate. You assume.

If Sony didn’t impose secrecy on them, then I will agree that both HG and Sean are 100% irresponsible in how they handled PR and the transparency of their business and their product. However, I’m willing to entertain the possibility that they weren’t allowed to talk about whatever they wanted because of the contract. I’m also willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because they haven’t come out and said they wouldn’t be adding in the features that they planned with the money they received from sales. If they have no intention of adding in those features with the money from sales, that would honestly be a very bad business practice on their part and they would definitely lose the faith of everyone who believed in them and their game, more than they already have. In my opinion, the reason they’ve received so much hate in the first place is because most people don’t stop to think about the bigger picture that I’ve talked about here. Why? I can’t answer that, but perhaps they are too lazy to do research and are ignorant to how AAA publishers work. They’d much rather complain and hate on it with the rest of everyone.

So, with all of that being said, before any more people go jumping on the hate train, do yourself a favor and think about the bigger picture. Don’t be like everyone else and hate on the game just because of what you’ve read about or even because of playing it and it not being what you expected. Take into consideration the possibilities that could have happened between the “missing features” that were discussed and the “final” released product. Also take into consideration that the game has not even been out for a month yet and the developers have been too busy fixing bugs and cleaning up issues, they haven’t had time to add any new features yet.

I hope this article has been informative to everyone in regards to the potential unforeseen circumstances that can happen in any game’s development, not just when working with a AAA publisher, but especially when working with a AAA publisher. Maybe next time people as a whole will be a bit more educated or at least do research and find things out for themselves instead of following everyone else.

Thanks for reading!

EDIT: Was thinking about something else today. Hello Games has been constantly releasing updates for the game since release. A total of 7 patches so far, that means that they’ve released 2 patches a week at least since the game was first released almost a month ago. This proves that Hello Games and Sean Murray haven’t “stole everyone’s money and ran.” They are still actively working on the game to bring the experience that they intended to the game. I’m unsure why everyone is STILL saying a month and 7 patches later that they are liars and thieves. Give them time, they’ve made good on bug fixes so far and have even announced some new interesting features that they have planned. Oh well, I guess to each their own, you can’t make everyone happy even if the game was 100% perfect there would be someone saying something negative somewhere.

28 thoughts on “One Man’s Lie? How about One Man’s HOPE?

  1. I was thinking about this earlier. I have not opened my copy yet but still am going to play. My only fear is that if the promises made do come out as DLC they will have a price tag. I think the items promised should remain free and any other ideas implemented and not talked about could be of some value.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 100% agree. If they release paid DLC that contains features that were supposed to be in the initial release, that would be very bad.


    1. I appreciate your input on the matter. I’ve been in and around the game industry for around 20 years, so I feel that I have the knowledge, experience, and history to be able to comment on such matters since I know the kinds of things that go into game development, both on an Indie level and a AAA level. If you don’t agree with what I’ve said in this article, then that is fine as you’re entitled to your opinion and I don’t hold that against you at all. Have a good one!


  2. Bigger picture is that Sean Murray lied about majority of core elements of his game. He spit in the face of gamers, his customers. And by the way, what he and Hello games did is called false advertisment. And it is illegal. And people like you who defending this kind of behavior, disgust me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As with anyone else, you’re entitled to your opinion. You seem very hostile right off the top, so I’m not sure that any amount of logic will work when explaining things to you. If you’ve been in game development at all then you should know how things are with just about every game in AAA. If you haven’t, then I’ll chalk up your response to mere ignorance of the process. In any case, thanks for your input!


      1. And you don’t seems to realize there is difference between cut out some aspect of game because creative process or time restraint. And releasing your game with majority of promised features missing.
        As Jim said games like Bioshock Infite too cut out some content, but in the end released experience was good enough so majority of player base doesn’t mind.
        If released game was polished and good AAA game no one would have mind.
        But No Man’s Sky is basically glorified 30 euros Indie game, which wants from players full triple A prize.
        So no, there should be no mercy for developers of this game. Because they are nothing more then scammers, who steal people money.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So are you saying that Sean Murray did not falsely advertise his game? no matter his motivation or the reasons behind it, if I’m selling you a product and I tell you it does a bunch of cool stuff, I take your money and then give you the product and you are handed something that does not have said cool stuff are you not liable? This is basic economics and nothing to do with the industry.


  3. At the end of the day HG presented NMS as a AAA game and charged a AAA game price. If you are playing in that sandbox, then you must be prepared to take the good and the bad like any other AAA game company and not use the indie developer excuse for any shortcomings. You can’t have it both ways. If there would have been some advance notice prior to release that some of these features were not being included in this initial version due to time constraints with the intention of implementing at some point, there still would have been negativity but at least the info would have been out there. I think what most people are upset about is the expectation of what they thought they were getting and not getting it without prior notice (I don’t count an innocuous Tweet the day before release). Many are upset and rightly so IMO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that people are rightly upset. I’m not saying that HG is perfect. However, I was saying that started out as an Indie company and were definitely not prepared for the AAA path. However when approached by Sony, who WOULDN’T jump at that opportunity. I wasn’t using them being indie as an excuse but more than being Indie ourselves and knowing anything about AAA development in general, there were more than likely things beyond their control. I think people are rightly upset, but I also think that there is a lot more hatred going on toward HG than there should be based on these factors. It just doesn’t make sense to me, getting the kind of press and exposure like this, it just tarnishes their reputation more than anything. It also destroys people’s faith in all indies. The money made from NMS will eventually run out and when it does they will need to be in a position to release other games. Ruining their reputation purposely just doesn’t add up. To be honest if they hired someone who was good at PR, it would solve a lot of their problems.


  4. So, the thing is, Sean and only Sean chose to stand up before the world declare “this is live gameplay” and say things like “this is a feature in our game” and “in our game you can do this”. He used present tense and the like to describe features of the game. Was he being intentionally dishonest about the release state, no I don’t think so. Was he being dishonest about those demonstrations being “live gameplay”, he knew that at least some of them were prescripted set pieces and not actual gameplay, but he didn’t tell anyone that, instead sticking with the company line of it being “live gameplay”. Sean and Hello Games have a culpability here, they at the very least misled their fans and haven’t taken any responsibility for it yet, yes I realize their contact with Sony probably prevents it, but no one made them sign that contract. Yes Sony has a culpability here also, but they aren’t the ones that stood up and said the game was something it wasn’t.

    It’s good to remember that developers often overreach or if their love for the game, it’s also good to remember that they’re still responsible for the things they say and do, some if which could be actionable in court. It’s important not to let that responsibility lapse, they’re adults, they made their choices and have to live with the consequences.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My current theory is that NMS was released under what I’m calling ‘The GTA5 Effect’.
    I think what happened is that the game, in it’s ‘as described by SM’ form, simply wouldn’t run on Sony’s current-gen hardware and that the delay was so that a stripped down version could be built, tested and deployed. Which suits Sony just fine because they had always planned on re-releasing the game for their next-gen platform. Any backlash is easily shrugged off onto HG.
    What bugs me about all this is that with the amount of anticipation for this game they could’ve gone the Kickstarter route and avoided dealing with Sony in the first place. But I guess when your studio is in financial dire straights and you’re staring at that many zeros the mind can get a little blown.


  6. Ohhh fixing things so that your product actually WORKS !!! That is truly great gesture of good will from HG. I am blown away.
    And no doubt these ” new features ” ,which was promised being in game on it release day, will be priced accordingly. You know, they haven’t stole enough. And there are sitll some sherds of reputation which needs to be destroyed.


    1. Some people won’t be happy regardless what they do or don’t do. I’ve pretty much accepted that fact that there are those who you can’t please even with near-perfection. Even if the game was perfect in every way, someone would come along and complain about something. It’s just the nature of the business, you can’t please everyone.


        So let’s sum up:
        1. Horrendous launch with many game breaking bugs which made this game on PC nearly unplayable. On par with Batman Arkham Knight.
        2. So many lies and fabrication from Sean Murray that Peter Molyneux is green by envy.
        3. So many missing freatures that Hello Games was probably inspired by development of Aliens: Colonial Marines.
        Ladies and gentlemens Near-Perfection.


      2. You either aren’t reading what I said or are skipping over bits and pieces because it doesn’t go with your point. I never said the game was near-perfection. I said, and I quote, “there are those who you can’t please even with near-perfection.”

        Meaning, that even with a near-perfect game, people would still complain about something because you can’t please everyone. I never called No Man’s Sky itself “near-perfection”.


      3. You said yourself I quote : ” I never called No Man’s Sky itself “near-perfection”. ”
        Because this game is not perfect, this game is not near perfect, this game is at best average 30 euros Indie title. Definetly not 60 euros triple A title. Maybe with at least half of the freatures which Sean Murray promised, yes.
        But that not the case. List of missing freature is longer then your article which defends it.
        As it is right now this game is nothing more then shameless robbery.
        Luckily for all deceived players Hello Games and Sean Murray can kiss goodbye any kredibility ond reputation they had in past.
        Fool me once shame on you. fool me twice….


      4. Again, never claimed it was perfect. No amount of logic or reasoning is going to work in this case because it’s obvious you have a lot of hate for the game. You’re entitled to your opinion just like I or anyone else is. I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise because it’s a waste of time.

        As I said the entire point of the article was to open people’s eyes to the problems that can arise during development, especially when working with a AAA publisher like Sony. Have a good one!


  7. First of not to beat a dead horse but i don’t think you not playing the game makes you neutral. I think it makes you ignorant on the topic. Second I don’t understand how in your post you tell us not to assume but it feels like your doing the same just the other side of the coin, for all you know it all was lies. I do agree with the part were you say they should have been forthright with what was in the game and not in the game because if they had I probably would have got the game and not felt so utterly taken for a while ride, HG or SM will never get any more $ from me no matter what they promise.

    Also why the hell did HG say that the next feature they want to bring in the game is base building? What about all the features I was promised why are none of those next on the list? Base building is a fundamentally broken idea for this game it makes no sense. What about the big secret we were told that’s at the center of the Galaxy? I won’t ruin it for anyone but I could not be more upset and let down with that little gem.

    P.S. we are still being lied to at this moment…..NMS trailers are still running with content not in game. *Drops the mic*


    1. There is a difference between being ignorant on the topic and not playing the game. Not playing the game doesn’t make me ignorant on the topic if I’ve done hours upon hours of research on the topic. I don’t have to play the game to know what it has and doesn’t have since there is so much content on the internet from people who have played it. I can watch videos and read articles and get a very good idea of what is in the game and what isn’t, especially with all the hate surrounding the game and “what it lacks”.

      I don’t think that assuming that just because they are talking about base building doesn’t mean they aren’t still fully committed to getting the features in that are/were missing. That’s the problem with everyone. They assume things instead of waiting to see what happens. They assume things and pretty soon they believe this “assumption” to be fact once they’ve told themselves it so many times. The only “facts” that are actual “facts” are those that come from HG, Sony, or Sean Murray.

      Withholding information doesn’t constitute lying. I’m not sure why people feel that silence or not being completely transparent is a definite indicator of deceit. Perhaps he just doesn’t want to announce everything at once? Perhaps he’s going to introduce things a little at a time, like would be smart when it comes to game development. If you’ve never been in game development or haven’t had the luxury of being a part of a game development team, honestly you’re just as ignorant to that portion of things as you assumed I was in regards to the NMS topic.

      In the end, game development takes time, more time than most of us developers would like. That’s just how it is though. Developing a game is very time consuming, nothing happens overnight. There’s nothing saying that any of these features won’t be added down the road, all the haters just assume the worst all the time because that’s what they do, focus on the negativity.

      The difference between me and most people is I keep an open mind and am willing to consider all of the possibilities instead of just dismissing them because they don’t fit with my opinion.


  8. Thanks for trying, Will. Really. You’re right, there are a lot of haters right now. I watched everything over and over coming up to the this game and, after playing it, I _am_ disappointed in how it turned out. There _is_ a lot of depth missing their interviews and trailers show. It shouldn’t have been billed as a AAA game, not as it is. Luckily for me, I didn’t expect a AAA game. Sony came in and took over the marketing, it looks like, but the actual game was still just made by HG, all 15 of them. I believe Sean meant what he said and he wasn’t trying to mislead people, that he’s the fall guy here. I believe he still wants to make that game and is still planning to; though I’m worried now that with this blowback they might not have the heart to add that stuff in.

    They still could, though; supply/demand trading, ship handling, factions that mean something could all still be added…


  9. “They assume things instead of waiting to see what happens. ”

    Pay to wait. New trend gaming 2016.

    Before, we used to know exactly what’s in a game before paying for it. These few years we are kept lying to game after game, disappointment after disappointment. We fund for the game before it is developed and then wait years to have it finally developed to find out the playstyle , the graphics, the everything is already outdated. This is so wrong.

    I can never believe any trailer anymore. None of them are real. Except Blizzard, in the past 2 years, all games are lies. You know what’s gonna happen like in WoW: Legion when the game releases and Blizzard says, “oops there are no demon hunter class, it’s all available to your imagination with infinite possibilities.”

    We need to know the development schedule before buying.

    We need to know exactly what’s in it, and what’s not before buying.

    If we’re paying for you to do your work, you are basically an employee.

    Alot of people just want to play a game. They don’t want to do a research degree on a game. You are different from the majority, which actually buys the game. You think these people are weird, but when everyone is crazy and you are the only normal one, you will be the crazy one. It does not feel 0.01% like it if you didn’t spend money on a product.

    No one cares what happens in development phase, we work in our own sectors. No project in any industry is done overnight, but we just need half a minute to pay for the game. It is a demonstration of professionalism, commitment and responsibility to deliver what you said to your customers.

    Don’t of trying to pull it to the “perfect” side by saying “it is not near perfect”. It really sounds disgusting. We don’t want perfect, we want honesty. Tell people what really is inside. We want fairness, sell the game at an Indie price. You can’t get away with lies and scams unless you control the media. Things like these spread fast and uncontrollably.

    If anything, your article just made everyone angrier. Well done.


  10. I’ve refrained from purchasing No Man’s Sky as of yet for the very same reason. I didn’t get on the original hype train and refuse to start hating on this game until I myself have tried it and have substantial evidence behind why it isn’t any fun. What irritates me most is that people who haven’t even played the game are referencing it like some sort of meme. There’s a sleep of

    Liked by 1 person

  11. *a slew of reviews on Steam that are rated “helpful” when all they say is bullshit like “Still more content than No Man’s Sky.” I apologize, my phone decided to send my comment mid-typing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Dawn, sorry was on vacation when you posted. I picked up the game after I got back and I have to say I’m definitely not disappointed. Judging the game for what it is and not what “it could be” has allowed me to enjoy the game a lot. I play the game for a couple hours or so each time I have free time and after a few days playing, I still can’t wait to get back on the game and continue exploring. I plan to write another article very soon describing my experiences since writing this article and since picking up the game. Stay tuned!🙂


  12. If you havent played the game you are not neutral. You have zero credibility. The game is a horrible nightmare and even to this day the videos on steam show things that are not in-game. The game is a fraud with no ending and your purpose in the game is to try and find a cool planet like in the trailer and you will NEVER find it. Spending time in space is useless as there is nothing to do. The game is horrible. It now has less than 1000 concurrent users on steam so the whole world hates the game not just “haters” or “people on the hate train”.

    Sean Murray is a greedy lying pig counting his sheckles.


    1. Sure thing man, whatever you say. Since writing the article, I have picked the game up a few days ago and have been playing it as free time allows. Let’s check Steam real quick… 12 hours so far. I still hold the same sentiments about the game as I did when writing the article. I didn’t let Sony and the rest of the media hype the game for me. We all know how much AAA marketing especially tends to over-hype games. What game isn’t over-hyped nowadays? I don’t buy into it. I wait until the game comes out and I judge it for what it is, not what I hoped it would be. There are countless games that have been released over the past few years that have been over-hyped and none have gotten nearly as much flak as Hello Games and No Man’s Sky. Why? Who knows. Generally, the game is a solid game with very well designed technical aspects. Agreeably the game wasn’t meant to be a tech demo, but that doesn’t mean that the game was meant to be anything other than what it turned out to be. Sure Sean and Hello Games wanted the features they talked about throughout development, but if you’ve read my article in its entirety, I talk about how sometimes features need to be cut if they either aren’t working out as expected in the long run or if time doesn’t allow the completion of said features.

      I’m unsure where you get your information from but a Single Player game such as No Man’s Sky has absolutely no relevance to “current” or “active” player count. It’s a single player game. The only games where a player count even matter is when multiplayer is considered. Or if the game relies on microtransactions or ads to generate revenue. Otherwise player count means nothing. Sales are what define success in a single player game. Hello Games and Sean Murray have banked at least a couple hundred million dollars from sales even AFTER refunds. I’m pretty sure that’s enough money to keep the game under development to add additional features for at least a year or two, if not more depending on if they hire more people or not. The fact that Sean and the rest of HG have released 9 patches/updates and a press release announcement describing some new features that are going to be in the future just goes to show that they are still actively working on the game and fixing bugs and adding new features. Also, Steam player count doesn’t represent the entire player count anyway. Steam player count doesn’t count people who bought the game directly from HG, those that purchased from GOG, or PS4 players. There are many MANY console players out there as well.

      The bottom line here is very simple. If you don’t like that game, that is your right. But that doesn’t mean that there are countless players out there who genuinely enjoy the game. Instead of wasting your time hating on the game, why not just get over it, go find another game that does interest you, and let those who enjoy the game, enjoy it in peace. Nobody is forcing you to like the game and nobody is forcing you to keep talking about it.


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