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Hello Games did the right thing by keeping quiet after No Man's Sky; here's why

Posted on 28th Nov 2016 at 17:14 by Jake Tucker with 27 comments

Jake Tucker
On Friday, Hello Games broke a three month silence to announce a new chunk of content it's calling the Foundation Update. The Foundation Update works on several levels. First, it's a foundation for what's to come next; secondly, it includes the basics of base-building, building being something that you often need a foundation for.

Clever, huh?

It makes sense because, despite how you might feel about No Man's Sky, the developers are clever folk. It's important to bear that in mind because in years to come, after we've forgotten how disastrously the game's launch went, we'll think about how well Hello Games has handled itself.

Thousands of angry and entitled players had worked themselves up into a frenzy of hype, some of it brought into being by Sony, some of it by the fans themselves and some by Murray representing himself poorly in interviews. Regardless of how it happened, there was now a suitably furious player-base, and it couldn't be appeased.

It's hard to describe this group of people as fans of No Man's Sky, but when Hello Games referred to the conversations surrounding the game being 'intense and dramatic' in its first blog post since September 2nd, it's showing a gift for the understatement. Players of the game have been screaming hatred into every corner of the internet about the game while trying to get companies to rewrite their refund policies, or trying to get the UK Advertising Standards Agency to investigate No Man's Sky over their use of bullshots i.e. screenshots that may not have been entirely representative of the finished product.

There's absolutely no way that Hello Games could have appeased them. Sean Murray could have embarked on a round-the-world trip personally taking disappointed gamers out for a beer and a good cry, and it still wouldn't have been enough. Instead, Hello Games did the only sane thing it could do in the face of the internet: They shut themselves off, they stopped engaging and they got to work.

It's hard not to respect that. The press, smelling blood, were circling Murray and Hello Games for comment and every commentator on the internet wanted their own personal response, but rather than use the energy engaging with some of the many angry voices demanding their time, they used that energy instead to try to polish out the many faults people were highlighting, and make the game tighter and more interesting.

I haven't played a lot of No Man's Sky since the update, limited to an evening watching my partner slowly build a base, but it seems like the devs have brought more of the game to fans for free. There's sure to be cries of 'it's not enough' ringing around the internet in the next week or so by people that've accidentally put themselves back on the hype train, but it seems like Hello Games is still trying to make good on its initial promise, and it's doing the right thing.

27 Comments

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XXAOSICXX 28th November 2016, 17:47 Quote
"and some by Murray representing himself poorly in interviews"

By which you mean "outright lying"...

You can blame the "fans" for over-reacting, and I'm sure you're right that nothing would have appeased them *after the fact* - but this might all have been avoided if...wait for it.. the game actually delivered on it's promises.

I feel it's a bit rich to lay blame at the feet of the customers in this instance - many of whom spent their hard-earned cash in good faith for a product that didn't deliver on what the top-man himself said in public interviews.
Anfield 28th November 2016, 18:00 Quote
Quote:
There's absolutely no way that Hello Games could have appeased them.

The moment they saw pre order numbers go through the roof they could have hired a couple more people and delivered much more at launch.
Look at what they achieved with around 15 people, imagine what could have been with lets say 50.

Anyway, the game is actually significantly better now than at launch, so at least they are on the right track.
veato 28th November 2016, 18:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
"and some by Murray representing himself poorly in interviews"

By which you mean "outright lying"...

You can blame the "fans" for over-reacting, and I'm sure you're right that nothing would have appeased them *after the fact* - but this might all have been avoided if...wait for it.. the game actually delivered on it's promises.

I feel it's a bit rich to lay blame at the feet of the customers in this instance - many of whom spent their hard-earned cash in good faith for a product that didn't deliver on what the top-man himself said in public interviews.

This ^

Also I think the player base could have been appeased. I suspect if Hello Games came out after release and said "yes, we missed some promised features, but rest assured we'll patch them in at a later date for free" then that would have quelled the rising ****-storm surrounding this game.

As it stands with the new update it *still* doesn't bring most of what was demonstrated/promised but adds the ability to build a base - a feature I personally feel is superfuous in a game designed around the ability to go out and explore a vast galaxy.
edzieba 28th November 2016, 18:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by veato
I suspect if Hello Games came out after release and said "yes, we missed some promised features, but rest assured we'll patch them in at a later date for free" then that would have quelled the rising ****-storm surrounding this game.
Has that ever actually [i]worked[i] in the past? Because I can't recall any instances of the Baying Mobs being appeased by anything other than a blood sacrifice (or just waiting for them to get bored and pick another target to hate).
Corky42 28th November 2016, 18:49 Quote
It always works with my other half, when she starts moaning at me for over promising and under delivering if i say nothing she gets bored. ;)
Pete J 28th November 2016, 20:23 Quote
I feel that all preorders ought to have an additional page that pops up before people buy it saying something along the lines of:

'You are about to preorder this game. This is widely considered idiotic, so only do it if you don't care about potentially losing the money you spend on it.'

After all, isn't this where most of the anger comes from? Anyway, I'm glad my spidey senses activated for this game and have potentially saved me disappointment. I was a bit naughty and watched the 'ending' on Youtube...yeah, not going to bother quite frankly.
XXAOSICXX 28th November 2016, 20:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete J
I feel that all preorders ought to have an additional page that pops up before people buy it saying something along the lines of:

'You are about to preorder this game. This is widely considered idiotic, so only do it if you don't care about potentially losing the money you spend on it.'

After all, isn't this where most of the anger comes from? Anyway, I'm glad my spidey senses activated for this game and have potentially saved me disappointment. I was a bit naughty and watched the 'ending' on Youtube...yeah, not going to bother quite frankly.

Ditto, and quite right too :)
Edwards 28th November 2016, 22:22 Quote
This is an incredibly poor post Jake, shame on you and whoever gave this the nod to be put up. How dare 'angry and entitled' players expect things they were told to expect, in a game they paid money for.

If this were a free to play game then fine, parts were missed out/not delivered on time, no big deal. Outright lying about features that would be in the game and giving no comment whatsoever about the potential future inclusion of is awful and you shouldn't be singing their praises for eventually getting around to laying the foundations for a subset of those features that were meant to be part of the core game.
SexyHyde 28th November 2016, 23:38 Quote
I liked the post Jake, don't let the angry internet get you down.

I don't preorder on priciple, as Pete J said, it's an idiotic practice that the big publishers seem to be taking advantage of. The closest thing I do is support small developers through Kickstarter.

It's also worth taking the involvement of Sony into account, which is what seemed to make this whole matter worse.

I look forward to picking this game up in the future when it goes on sale for around £20 and is a bit more finished.
JakeTucker 28th November 2016, 23:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SexyHyde
I liked the post Jake, don't let the angry internet get you down.

I don't preorder on priciple, as Pete J said, it's an idiotic practice that the big publishers seem to be taking advantage of. The closest thing I do is support small developers through Kickstarter.

It's also worth taking the involvement of Sony into account, which is what seemed to make this whole matter worse.

I look forward to picking this game up in the future when it goes on sale for around £20 and is a bit more finished.

I'd blame Sony wholeheartedly for most of this, but it's not even really /their fault/, it's just a lot of people mishandling things.

That's the thing with stuff like this, it's rarely malice, but just a few people not doing their jobs, in this case, the marketing people who needed to keep people's expectations in line.

Game's decent, though.
veato 29th November 2016, 07:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeTucker
I'd blame Sony wholeheartedly for most of this, but it's not even really /their fault/, it's just a lot of people mishandling things.

That's the thing with stuff like this, it's rarely malice, but just a few people not doing their jobs, in this case, the marketing people who needed to keep people's expectations in line.

Game's decent, though.

Can you let me know what Sony did to be attributed all/most of the blame? I'm not saying they didn't do anything but I honestly don't know how they caused this.

For me, and with regards to managing expectations, I don't think gamers wholly hyped the game into something it wasn't. For the most part those expectations were created my Sean Murray himself, either by lying about and/or misrepresenting the features of the game in interviews and demonstrations.

I don't understand how this is excusable or how it's justifiable to shift the blame to Sony and the gamers themselves.
edzieba 29th November 2016, 13:33 Quote
Sony handled the marketing of the game. arranging TV appearances, print/tv/web ads and promotions, etc.
Anfield 29th November 2016, 13:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by veato
Can you let me know what Sony did to be attributed all/most of the blame? I'm not saying they didn't do anything but I honestly don't know how they caused this.

Sony as a global multi billion corporation could have at least let someone with experience in marketing write some notes for Sean before allowing him to appear on TV and such.

If they would have provided him with a marketing speak excuse for not having multiplayer for example would he still have lied about it being in the game?
veato 29th November 2016, 14:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
Sony handled the marketing of the game. arranging TV appearances, print/tv/web ads and promotions, etc.

Any sources for this or just heresay and presumption?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield
If they would have provided him with a marketing speak excuse for not having multiplayer for example would he still have lied about it being in the game?

He could have just not lied regardless.
edzieba 30th November 2016, 09:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by veato
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
Sony handled the marketing of the game. arranging TV appearances, print/tv/web ads and promotions, etc.
Any sources for this or just heresay and presumption?
From Sony UK's Managing Director:
Quote:
Picking out No Man’s Sky as an example, Gara says these games have the potential to go beyond the usual expectations of an ‘indie’ title.

“No Man’s Sky has been treated as if it was from one of our internal studios,” he says. “We have been working very closely with the developers and bringing it into our release programme as if we had made it. We are not going to treat it any differently and we are going to put the full weight of PlayStation behind it. If it all comes together as well as expected, it will be treated like a first-party release; it is not a self-published small indie title on the platform.”

So I slightly misspoke: Sony also handled publishing and distribution for NMS too.
hyperion 30th November 2016, 13:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
Has that ever actually [i]worked[i] in the past? Because I can't recall any instances of the Baying Mobs being appeased by anything other than a blood sacrifice (or just waiting for them to get bored and pick another target to hate).

IIRC it did with Warhammer Online. They were very upfront that the game would be missing several races and cities at release and they would be adding them later. Followers were quite sympathetic and appreciated the honesty. It still did quite well with preorders. Things mostly went downlhill for Warhammer because of the way it was handled after the delayed content was released.
XXAOSICXX 30th November 2016, 13:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeTucker
This is relevant, today.

It's relevant - it's also a total farce. And, of course, the ASA's remit didn't include the myriad interviews and "demos" used for marketing purposes prior to launch. Any claim that the "Ad" on Steam "did not exaggerate the expected player experience of the game" is surely mitigated by SM not only lying, but actually LOOKING BLOODY SHIFTY WHILE DOING SO.

In my opinion, that article only highlights the ASA's incompetence and lack of knowledge of the subject - especially to have been swayed by some very iffy excuses, especially regarding the capability of the game to produce the graphics shown in the screenshots (even if it DOESN'T).
IamJudd 30th November 2016, 16:27 Quote
I wonder if all this furor is why Sony is not allowing the release of Ark Survival in its current form...

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
iggy 4th December 2016, 07:38 Quote
How much did Sony pay for this piece?
Nexxo 4th December 2016, 09:56 Quote
Am I the only one who thinks that people expected a bit too much from this game, and are taking all this just a bit too seriously?
badders 4th December 2016, 10:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Am I the only one who thinks that people expected a bit too much from this game, and are taking all this just a bit too seriously?

Those of us who remember Spore were probably less inclined to expect too much - I didn't buy NMS personally.

Glad to see history repeating itself though.
XXAOSICXX 4th December 2016, 12:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Am I the only one who thinks that people expected a bit too much from this game, and are taking all this just a bit too seriously?

I don't think that it's unrealistic to expect any game to deliver what the Founder & Director of the company producing it personally says in interviews - especially not for £40 - which might be a drop in the ocean to you, but is not necessarily the case for others.
Pete J 4th December 2016, 15:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Am I the only one who thinks that people expected a bit too much from this game, and are taking all this just a bit too seriously?
Yes they did, but then Sean Murray told flat out lies about what was in the game from what I can gather (I've not played the game).

Overall, I'm glad I passed it over. I MIGHT pick it up for £3 or less down the road and see if I can be bothered to play it - if I don't I can always get it refunded, or not care about £3 wasted rather than £40.
David 4th December 2016, 15:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete J
Yes they did, but then Sean Murray told flat out lies about what was in the game from what I can gather (I've not played the game).
+1

It's a bit harsh to criticise the people who bought this game on the strength of promises made by the developer. We're not talking about ambiguous hints and half truths here - there was a video Q&A (on youtube iirc) where he answered questions sent in, and many of those promises were not delivered upon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete J
Overall, I'm glad I passed it over. I MIGHT pick it up for £3 or less down the road and see if I can be bothered to play it - if I don't I can always get it refunded, or not care about £3 wasted rather than £40.
I'm also glad I let this slide, but I dont really care about picking it up in the bargain bins either.
Zanib 6th December 2016, 19:44 Quote
"but it seems like the devs have brought more of the game to fans for free"

Considering it cost £40 but was worth about £15... I disagree this update was £25 worth of content.

That isn't to say I don't think it still has a great deal of potential though.
PaulJG 7th December 2016, 12:10 Quote
Hmmm.. yeap - I was burnt.. completely my fault - but put my hand up to the hype machine. Not a happy bunny..

I sat on the bench for day's before the release date, umming and erring.. They want £40!, thats £10 more than I usually pay! - So I sat there reading the mag previews, watching the vid's I could find online..

ohhh... space battles, sandworms, big stompy dinosaurs breaking into the open fighting other dinos - SOLD!!

What I really got is a shallow empty game, with the same scripted things happening on every world - cue the 3 flying ships overhead. :( - my fault for being a plonker.. but what a bloody farce.
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