To say that No Man’s Sky is one of the most enigmatic, hyped, and debated games in recent memory is perhaps the understatement of the century. There was so much hype behind this game that I feel that no matter how good the game was, it would never be able to live up to the lofty expectations it garnered for itself. Not only has NMS not lived up to the hype, it also has not lived up to expectations as a result of the absence of numerous features and elements that were personally told to be included in the game by Managing Director of Hello Games, Sean Murray. One reditor even took it a step further and perused all the old interviews, statements, and convention showings that Murray did and put together a list of all the features he said would be in the game, but are absent in the launch build. Here is a ‘shortened’ version of that list:
- Planetary physics
- Ship classes with meaningful differentiation
- Faction reputation with meaningful gameplay impact
- Homogenous resource availability
- Asteroid landings
- Space station and fleet destruction
- Large fleets
- Traveling freighters
- Large scale battles the player can join
- In-atmosphere battles
- NPC’s outside trading posts and other docks
- Ringed planets
- Sand planets
- Flying between stars (as opposed to warping via the galactic interface)
- Complex creature behavior including environmental interaction
- Points of interest such as large structures and crashed freighters
- Hacking locked doors
- Radio chatter
and what is probably the biggest omission of all-Interaction with other players. And this one still currently has an air of mystery surrounding it. While it is no secret that Shawn Murray and Hello Games DID say that you would be able to run into other players, albeit it would be super rare, there is some uncertainty here after two streamers realized they were really close to each other on the galactic map and decided to meet up on a planet. However they were unable to see each other or any evidence or effect on the planet from the other player either. The only response that I heard of was a tweet that Murray sent out after the incident stating that he didn’t expect it to happen so soon and that it was a result of the server issues that we plaguing the game at the time. So, while it has yet to happen, it seems as though Mr. Murray is sticking to his story. Now, to be fare, Murray has also recently stated that this build that was released is the ‘base game’ and once they get the server and networking issues ironed out, Hello Games has big plans for the game. Including add-ons and expansions that could alter the game entirely, and possibly finally get some of these promised features into the game.
My personal thoughts on the No Man’s Sky backlash
As I have said before, I came into No Man’s Sky with ALOT less expectations than what most gamers had for it. I had only really been paying attention to it the last couple months before release, so I was not one of the types of gamers that had been hyped on it for several years, consuming every single interview, statement, and convention briefing I could get my hands on. In fact I went on a media black out as far as NMS went the last few weeks before launch. I knew that I was mainly getting into the game for the exploration aspect and I didn’t want to see any screens or footage of the universe, I wanted to experience it for the first time fresh and not expect any certain elements. So, since I didn’t know about all these missing features and elements from the game and the fact that I got into the game in the first place to just chill out and explore the massive universe-I enjoy No Man’s Sky. However, I do agree that it can get quite tedious, repetitive, and downright boring. But I also didn’t get it thinking that it was going to be one of those games that you play all day everyday like I easily did with The Division and currently, Destiny. I think No Man’s Sky is at it’s best when you don’t have any expectations, you go into it with an open mind, and just want to roam the stars, listening to music, just chill out and relax and play a game for 30 minutes to an hour or two. Don’t get me wrong-I do NOT blame the gamers that knew about the game years ago and have been eagerly awaiting it’s arrival for just as long only to have it missing so many features that were said to be in the game. I would be very upset as well. Anyone in their right mind would be. So I have no issue whatsoever with players wanting refunds from either Hello Games or the retailers they purchased the game from. I personally feel that Hello Games should be offering refunds to players. I did hear something about some retailers offering refunds for a short period of time with exceptions-like they wouldn’t do it if you had played it for x amount of hours, which I can kind of agree with. If someone is trying to get a refund for a game that they played for, lets just say, 80 hours or so-by that point you know what kind of game it was. However I’m not close to this situation-this is just what I heard around the watercooler.
Part of me feels bad for Sean Murray and his team at Hello Games. This game and the massive amount of hype around it clearly got away from them at some point-early on I’d say. I actually did watch an interview with him that Ryan McCaffrey from IGN did a few months back Murray told the story of how the develoent studio flooded just days after they announced NMS at that years E3. Murray went on to say that because of the flood and everything getting destroyed, that No Man’s Sky almost didn’t happen. It came very close to being scrapped. In the interview I watched, he looked like he’s shy and kind of awkward which I can relate to. It’s quite possible that he’s the type of person that is not good at saying no to people or giving them bad news. And it is quite possible that over the course of development of No Man’s Sky that when he was asked questions of wether or not a feature was in the game-he would just say that it was. I obviously don’t know him personally and this is just conjecture but I have known many people like this in my life and I can definitely see how something like that COULD happen. We forget, people are human and make mistakes and often times it boils down to some pretty ridiculous reasons behind them.
In closing, all we can really say for sure is that NMS underperformed the massive amount of hype and expectations that was behind it. But like I said before, no matter how good the games could have been it would not have been enough to satiate that ungodly amount of hype. When people ask me about the game, the first thing I reply with is a question asking them what they want or expect out of the game. In my opinion that’s what it comes down to. I didn’t expect much from the game and I enjoy it. Then there is the people that thought it was going to be the greatest game of all time and they are slamming it left and right, in alot of cases deservedly so. I still think that you have to give credit where credit is due. What the miniscule team at Hello Games was able to accomplish is still quite impressive. I just hope they can add some captivating content to the core experience to quell some of this hatred towards the game. Because I can see what the game CAN be, and I am personally pulling for Murray and co. to pull of something truly miraculous-changing a gamers mind.
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