Do call it a comeback.
Everybody knows the disaster of a game known as No Man’s Sky, a 2014 indie title that bit off more than it chew presentation and hype-wise. Those days are long gone, as No Man’s Sky received a TON of updates and upgrades that gave Hello Games its “Best Comeback” lifetime achievement award. I don’t think that award exists, but it should, given the studio’s determination to right its wrongs.
So what’s next for Hello Games? Well, the studio released The Last Campfire, a smaller but still entertaining adventure game. Thanks to the studio’s expansion since 2014 – those updates for No Man’s Sky needed a ton of manpower- founder Sean Murray said to Polygon that the studio is currently planning another “huge, ambitious game like No Man’s Sky”. He didn’t reveal more, but he shared some stories and lessons learned during the development of No Man’s Sky pre and post-launch. The bottom quote is a summary of Hello Games’ time working for Sony in hyping up the game to unrealistic heights.
“There is this poison chalice or deal with the devil that I think any indie game developer would find actually a very difficult choice, right? The choice that we had with No Man’s Sky, where if I was to go back again, I would find it very difficult to know what the right path was. Where you will have incredible interest in your game, you will have a huge amount of excitement for it. But you will be in a rocket ship, launching towards the sun, and you will be building that rocket on the way up.
And there is an excitement and a craziness to that. Where we’ve ended up with the game, where we have hundreds of millions of hours played and a really happy community and all of that kind of thing, you know, I’m okay with that deal that we did, right?”
Murray stressed that he will not put himself and his team through this process with Sony and that fated partnership ever again. Expectations and pressure were super-high since then, and they suffered for it. Which is a very good takeaway from their years of experience with No Man’s Sky. It seems that they’re ready to take on a big project again.
“I look back, having done a lot of different press opportunities and things like that. And I reckon about half of what we did—and a lot of where we had problems, I think, where we were naive—we didn’t really need to do and we would have had the same level of success, you know? A lot of opportunities were put in front of us, and we were told that they were the right things to do and I look back and I’m not sure that they were super, super important to the overall outcome kind of thing.”
Live and learn, right?