Home Gaming No Man’s Sky’s Sean Murray explains why radio silence may be best for post-launch games such as Anthem and Fallout 76

No Man’s Sky’s Sean Murray explains why radio silence may be best for post-launch games such as Anthem and Fallout 76

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When the gamers of tomorrow look back through the history books, it’s safe to say that No Man’s Sky will stand tall as a prime example of a game redeeming itself in the eyes of fans. Here was an ambitious game that offered players an entire universe to explore in 2016 and built up a solid bedrock of hype…only to deliver a product that ultimately felt half-baked, was lacking several promised features and still needed some time in the development oven.

Cue the fan backlash, hot takes and angry vitriol thrown at developer Hello Games, and Nomanskie (Damn you Matty) was in trouble. Buckling down and taking all of that criticism to heart, Hello Games burned the midnight oil and two years later No Man’s Sky was reborn as something unique and magical. Ideas were properly fleshed out, the scope was expanded upon and new content has been arriving at a regular clip which allows No Man’s Sky to provide substantial experiences to its players.

There’s a lesson to be learnt there, as games such as Fallout 76 and Anthem haven’t just stumbled out of the starting block on their own sprint to live service glory, they’ve pretty much tripped over their own ambition with enough force to level a city when their faces hit the tarmac. No Man’s Sky creator Sean Murray knows all too well how quickly a seaworthy vessel of a game can become a sinking ship when expectations fail to meet reality, and he had a few thoughts to share.

“We went about two years without talking to press at all”, Murray said at the Develop conference in Brighton via GamesRadar.

And we went about three months without saying anything to the community either. That was really hard. I sat down so many times and wrote the perfect blog post that was going to explain everything about the game’s development, and the road map going ahead. But I could see that it didn’t hold credibility with regards to where we were at.

There have been a number of games that have since come out, had a polarising launch,and that explosive mix of loads of people playing it but also problems. And I can see EA, Microsoft, or Bethesda try to placate players by just talking to them, but for right or wrong, it just doesn’t really work. You see this all the time when a big publisher will talk to the community and try to solve the problem and then get embroiled, taking up more and more of its head space.

It’s a double-edged sword when you think about it. Talk to fans, and you’re likely to find yourself distracted from the core issues which need to be fixed, whereas staying shtum provides space to get to work and bounce back with a product that doesn’t just draw lapsed players back but also attracts a new crowd. Judging by how radio silent Bioware has been on Anthem lately, I’m hoping that the studio has something significant up their sleeves for the biggest disappointment of 2019.

Last Updated: July 10, 2019

30 Comments

  1. Hate to say it but, Sean Murray actually proved this point himself instead of speculating. Anyone who bought NMS back at launch, reinstall it now and you will see how great it has become.

    Reply

    • Pariah

      July 10, 2019 at 10:28

      I have been itching to get back in for a little while, I haven’t since just before the Abyss update – but I’m waiting on the next major patch before I do so. But damn the game is a gem now, and I will gladly sing its praises. NMS / Hello Games have earned them.

      Reply

      • Yahtzee

        July 10, 2019 at 12:40

        I’m also eagerly waiting for the MMO update.

        Reply

        • Pariah

          July 10, 2019 at 12:48

          It’s going to be Beyond awesome, tbh. Still waiting on more news about that 3rd major feature that they’ll be adding.

          Reply

          • Yahtzee

            July 10, 2019 at 12:48

            Last time I played I got a nice exotic ship and was hard on my way to get a capitol ship where I can park all my pretty ships…and then fishing sim games happened to me.

          • Pariah

            July 10, 2019 at 12:48

            Lol my last freighter was a farm-in-progress before I found other distractions that pulled me away. Was making a few mil per hour already and was nowhere near done.

            Also exotic ships are awesome! As are the alien exotic tools, but those are even more rare than the ships.

          • Yahtzee

            July 10, 2019 at 12:48

          • Pariah

            July 10, 2019 at 12:57

            Oh damn, the folding wings and a nice colour too! That’s like one of the best. <3 the name. The only 2 I've found have been a horrible blue and an even worse bright yellow.

          • Yahtzee

            July 10, 2019 at 12:57

            Kinda looks like a Victini now that I look at it xD

  2. Llama In The Rift

    July 10, 2019 at 10:28

    One Mans Lie actually turned into No Man’s Sky from a studio with what? like 15 staff members…where as Anthem/Fallout still sucks after multiple updates.

    EA: Gamers just don’t know what they want…Why do people keep hating us?
    Todd: Yeah….there is no such thing as pay-to-win…

    Reply

    • Ben Vorbeck

      July 10, 2019 at 12:07

      You just want to hate something no matter what it is

      Reply

      • Pariah

        July 10, 2019 at 12:34

        He’s praising No Man’s Sky for turning it around… How is that “hate”?

        Reply

        • Ben Vorbeck

          July 10, 2019 at 13:12

          Nms took very long to get the updates, and anthem just recently came out and fallout is not that bad. He is just a hater. Are you dumb?

          Reply

          • Llama In The Rift

            July 10, 2019 at 13:23

            NMS took long cause Hello Games buckled down, rolled up their sleeves and worked on what the game was supposed to be…did not blame anyone else for their mistakes and produced a polished game from a frame of what it once was, did it all without a single microtransaction to be found….with a team of 15 something…i cannot say the same from a studio as big as Bioware or Bethesda…its within my human right to hate, hence why the emotion exists…i just don’t rub my hate of people or go calling them dumb on just an opinion provided…it’s as good as me calling you a “fan boi”…now i’ll say Good Day to you Sir.

          • Ben Vorbeck

            July 10, 2019 at 14:09

            Blablabla… this is exactly the ‘opinions’ nms and Sean Murray received after launch. And I was a fan boy when nms released because I knew it had potential, the same goes for Anthem. You can practice your rights but it doesn’t define you, it just reveals how sad you really are

          • Llama In The Rift

            July 10, 2019 at 15:05

  3. Original Heretic

    July 10, 2019 at 10:43

    i.e. shut up and do your damn job

    Reply

  4. Kikmi

    July 10, 2019 at 11:24

    With the outright lies he told prelaunch and postlaunch I really really REALLY dont think we should be taking advice from him. The only reason why there was backlash against NMS was because Murray outright lied to consumers. If thats your business model, as it is with Anthem and 76, then sure, hiding from everyone for a couple months while you actually get to dev some of the “promises” you clearly didnt have on day one then I guess, yeah. Do that.

    OR

    Ya, know… dont outright lie to your player base? Maybe when acting on PR verify what will actually be delivered, not praise elements that “we are thinking” about putting in the game, on day one’s release.

    Guys this isn’t HG business ec, ok? This is straight up 101 shit. Come on now.

    Reply

    • Pariah

      July 10, 2019 at 11:44

      So here’s a guy who’s made mistakes. Learned from them the hard way. And now wants to impart that experience to help others. And you’re saying don’t listen to him because he made mistakes prior to learning from them? That’s really, REALLY narrow minded.

      Reply

      • Ben Vorbeck

        July 10, 2019 at 12:07

        Haters are narrow minded anyway

        Reply

      • Kikmi

        July 10, 2019 at 14:40

        Woah woah woah calm down there, user name totally checks out. And yes I wouldn’t trust some one who is bad at business giving others business advice. Its not a difficult thing to understand, so what if he learnt his lesson? Does that abscond him of accountability and responsibility? No it doesn’t. The fact that he’s also mentioning 76 and anthem as examples of keeping your head out of the community because its “better” for the company is kind of spineless dont you think? You wouldnt trust Bill Clinton with etiquette and behaviour in the work place? You wouldn’t trust Mark Zuckerberg with privacy and security? Regardless of what lessons are learnt, those lessons were only birthed into reality due to negligence and narcissism. Those qualities do not a good role model make.

        Reply

        • Pariah

          July 10, 2019 at 15:05

          Hey, cool. Personal attacks. Those always make one’s argument more meaningful.

          Anyway. You’re stuck in what was, not what IS. If Mark Zuckerberg had changed Facebook’s security from being notoriously bad to being one of the best, then that would be a fair comparison, but it’s not. You’re arguing as if Hello Games just left NMS to rot and did nothing to fix it, but that’s not the case. IF they had done so, then yes we’d be in agreement. But the fact is, Shaun shut the fuck up, fixed his game, did better, delivered MORE than what was initially promised, and now is in a place where he’s easily the shining example of what to do when you release a game that falls far below either expectations or promises. He’s exactly the person that the Anthem and F76 devs need to look to as an example.

          So again, stop focusing on one point in history and take the whole picture into account. Until you do, you are the very definition of narrow minded.

          Reply

          • Kikmi

            July 11, 2019 at 09:17

            Ok pumpkin, you do you.

    • Dr Webster Flexington

      July 10, 2019 at 14:40

      At least they learnt from their mistakes. I’m pretty sure Sean won’t make the same mistake again. Give credit where credit is due.

      At least he didn’t pull a Todd Howard, kotaku or polygon and continued to double down on the misinformation.

      Reply

      • Kikmi

        July 10, 2019 at 14:56

        Look I dont wish the dude harm or anything but he’s definitely not someone i would trust never mind take advice from wrt business/PR in the gaming industry.

        CDPR for instance has been exposed for some really shitty employment practices and were pretty much slapped around for a long while by fans and critics but here we are in 2019 and they’re basically Neo from the Matrix in the industry rn. Now THERES someone i would listen to wrt PR. Having such a despicable association to your business only for a few short years later becoming the messiah, its some pretty crazy shit

        Reply

  5. Dr Webster Flexington

    July 10, 2019 at 14:33

    At least Sean put his money where his mouth is, and regardless of the criticism, his team embraced the controversy, and put their asses in their seats, lowered their necks and worked hard to improve the game. The result: they surprised us all by improving on the game. The current version is fantastic, and a testament to the age old slogan “The customer is always right!”

    That brings a tear to my eye. As for Bioware and Bethesda… they can go suck a duck. I have zero faith in either being able to improve on their games.

    Reply

  6. Kromas

    July 10, 2019 at 10:28

    Sean Murray lied a w hole lot. That is why he was silent. Can say the same for Anthem. Fallout 76 however apart from the Canvas bag thing (My bag arrived today and it is nice) did not really lie about what Fallout 76 is. People just hated with extreme bias due to influencers making a deal out of it.

    Now I am not saying it wasn’t flawed at launch. It had major issues and it made the game an average experience at best for most people. However Bethesda publishes a weekly update and keeps close to said updates announcements as best they can. So far the only thing missed was display stands and that is going to eventually make it. The game is super fun and after the free weekend we have seen an influx of new players who are enjoying it very much.

    Reply

    • Dr Webster Flexington

      July 10, 2019 at 14:40

      In hindsight, going dark for a while and then focussing on improving the game was a good move, and while I am happy things worked out for the game in the end, I still think they should have at least acknowledged the faults in the beginning.

      But water under the bridge, all is forgiven now….

      Reply

      • Pariah

        July 10, 2019 at 15:15

        I personally am a fan of the “talk is cheap” mindest. Actions, not words. And Sean did exactly that after learning his lesson. Key point: he learned his lesson. Much respect.

        Reply

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