Sean Murray knows a thing or two about a not-so-great game launch. The story of No Man’s Sky is infamous now, perhaps as a cautionary tale for overselling a game. When the much-hyped title released in 2016, it received mixed reviews, and many complained at the lack of a number of promised features. After the game failed to take off, Sean Murray and the team at Hello Games retreated for a while, vowing silence until they were ready to re-reveal an improved No Man’s Sky. According to Murray, publishers like EA and Bethesda should follow a similar approach when dealing with the botched launches of Anthem and Fallout 76, respectively.
In Murray’s view, the best way to course-correct is by focusing efforts solely on improving the experience. As making empty promises were a big contributing factor in all of these games’ perceived failure, vocalizing even more lofty goals could create further complications.
Admitting that not speaking to the community “was really hard,” he ultimately accepted it was for the best:
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.
He then compared his struggles with No Man’s Sky to those of other online-heavy titles, saying publishers run the risk of getting caught in a web of sorts:
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.
We’ve seen BioWare take a bit of this approach, not offering many community updates. While it has caused the Anthem fanbase to get somewhat irritated, Murray believes the developer is making the right call. “Talking about features when a game’s already out isn’t that credible or interesting. Your actions are so much more important than what you say,” he notes. BioWare recently delayed the Anthem roadmap in an attempt to improve the current gameplay experience.
No Mans Sky Developer Offers Advice for EA and Bethesda
Fallout 76, on the other hand, has been hyping up it’s soon-to-come features. As part of the already-released roadmap, Bethesda has begun to heavily promote the introduction of in-game NPCs to the online multiplayer title. In addition, its all new battle royale mode, Nuclear Winter, has recently been introduced.