Why You Shouldn't Return to No Man's Sky
With the new 1.5 NEXT update for No Man's Sky, there has been a lot of publicity for the game that hasn't got this much attention since its launch in August 2016. For those that bought the game, this might seem like the perfect opportunity to return to see what the buzz is about. While it is tempting, I'm here to make the case that you should NOT return and instead discourage others from playing if you felt burned by its initial release.
If you do a quick YouTube search you will find that most of the results are positive and how the game is great now. But just two years ago, most of the videos were about the false promises, exaggerations, or downright lies that did not appear in the game. A large portion of players was outraged when they felt like they were misled, and the worst part of it was that the spokesman, Sean Murray, and the development team went silent when people were demanding answers. They seemed to have worked on their communication and are now at a good place with the community, but people are being too forgiving or willing to forget their egregious practices.
The reason that I'm not happy that the game is getting popular again is that I believe that Murray intentionally misled their audience to sell as many copies as possible. For a small developer like Hello Games, who also self-published the game, No Man's Sky was a huge commercial success regardless of the backlash. Prior to the game's initial release, there was a fiasco about early copies and content being posted online of concerns about the game. Hello Games intentionally knowing that reviews copies would reveal major issues with the game, still tried to mislead consumers by describing how a day one patch that would fix many bugs.
If you decide to return to the game or pick up the game after the new update, you are sending a message to game developers like Hello Games, and others in the industry, that this practice is OK. That you can over promise, have a game with a lot of technical issues, a negative reception and still make lots of money.
Many people would say that many games have a rocky launch, and the development team stuck with the game to provide free updates to make the game fit their original idea. Because this game sold so many copies at launch, and others pick it up just because of the negative attention, of course, the developers would want to stick with this game. Not only did they get a large number of people to buy it at release, now using the positive press can sell the game again, almost like a sequel, with the selling point on how much it has improved. Using the 1.5 and NEXT in the title is evidence. Hopefully, they don't trick more consumers, because even with the changes, the game is already getting mediocre reviews and haven't lived up to the promises made about the game that it was originally sold on. If anything good came out of the situation, it's that people should stop pre-ordering games. With digital downloads, most retailers will not sell out of physical copies of the game nowadays.
The reason I want to make this post and why I think it is important is because this trend needs to stop. Square Enix is another example with Final Fantasy 14, which relaunched as FF14: A Realm Reborn and is doing very well now. They even did it again with FF15, which I felt was a disappointment that they are still supporting with DLC. As consumers, we have a lot of power, and when we buy or spend anytime on a game, that supports the developers financially. Even returning to games you already purchased, or free to play games are the same. The idea that No Man's Sky is considered a success is disheartening to the whole game industry. The right thing for them to have done was keep this game in development and released it as it is now. They could have easily released it as an early access game if it was a financial issue and if they truly cared about their community or putting out a quality game. There are many games on Steam doing that successfully right now.
So for those that are still thinking about going back to No Man's Sky, you should instead spend time and support other games that are making innovations in the right way. It's like discovering that something in your refrigerator has gone past the expiration date. You might have already spent a lot of money on it and eating it won't kill you, but you know it's safer if you just threw it away. This reminds me of the controversy around the new Ghostbusters movie too. Talking about the controversy only gets more people interested. You have to resist the urge and not promote it or more companies will start to do the same thing. Don't post thumbnails about how great the game is now if it went from terrible to average.
I hope you guys enjoyed this opinion piece.
Let me know if you disagree, and you're thoughts of the game. I'm chipping away at my backlog of games so I'm not interested in playing it, but I do look forward to the game in the future that can do procedurally generated worlds successfully.