The long-awaited No Man’s Sky will finally be with us in just a few short days – those of us who don’t already have it, that is. Which is most of us, basically.
There are a certain few who’ve gotten their hands on the game early, and of those who have, there are a certain few who saw fit to leak gameplay footage and details to the community as they pleased. Sure, it’s news, it brings in the readership and more, but that’s besides the point. What’s an article or video created over a few hours when the topic at hand is the culmination of years of work, hopes, and expectations?
Games aren’t just something you whip up in a night and pop onto the internet, much like news articles and videos. The amount of effort, time, care, and so on that goes into them is massive. Putting years of work into something, and cherishing the thought of how it’ll go out into the world, only to have that dream ruined by a select few – it’s most likely one of the most horrible feelings a developer can have.
Pete Hines discussed it in an interview from Game Informer, talking about the similarities between Fallout 4 and No Man’s Sky in terms of leaks, spoilers, and such:
Someone asked me on Fallout 4, ‘What’s it like watching somebody play your game before launch on streams? I guess it must be like watching someone open presents before Christmas Day.’ No. It’s like watching somebody else open your Christmas presents a week before Christmas. That’s what it really feels like. You put years of your life and energy into something and somebody goes and gets it early and, regardless of whether there’s a day one patch or not, it sucks.
Hines is a little more forgiving than myself. Although he acknowledges the effect these circumstances might have on developers, he doesn’t blame the community in the least. He completely accepts the fact that some will be curious, some will be eager, and some’ll just, well, want to see. Referring specifically to No Man’s Sky and its current situation, he said the following:
As for the No Man’s Sky folks, I feel for them, and for any dev that has to go through it. It really sucks. It’s not the fans fault that the store decided to sell it. If I walked into a store and they said, ‘Here’s Dishonored 2,’ yeah, I would want to play that.
I guess when it comes down to it, I do too. In fact, my hypocrisy is clear to see when I admit that, to be fair, I found it hard to avoid the leaked Fallout 4 gameplay leading up to launch. I watched at the most a few seconds, as to not dampen my expectations or excitement for the game, but still. When it comes to gameplay leaks and footage, the force is strong.
Going into more detail on how he feels the problem could be dealt with, or rather, could have been dealt with, Hines said:
If you look at what [Blizzard] did with Overwatch, which I thought was really smart and cool, they actually allowed stores to sell it early,” Hines said. “The reason they did that is because they weren’t turning the servers on until a later date, and the disc does nothing until that happens. They could do that because it was an online-only multiplayer thing. You can’t do that with single player games like Dishonored 2. I can’t force you to connect to activate the game. That really screws over people without internet connections. That’s the rub.
Honestly, I’m not excited enough about No Man’s Sky to the point where I’ll go out of my way to find leaked footage, but for those who are, consider the fact that there’ll never be another No Man’s Sky. Do you really want to ruin the fun by seeing too much, or seeing the wrong thing before you’ve had that personal experience yourself? As Hello Games’ Sean Murray puts it:
“We’ve spent years filling No Man’s Sky with surprises. You’ve spent years waiting. Please don’t spoil it for yourself :(“
He’s completely spot-on, going by my experiences, too. Leading up to Fallout 4, I spent hours picking apart and analyzing videos, news articles, really anything I could find. I feel, honestly, like it somewhat damaged my experience with the game. Speaking about this sort of thing, Murray continued:
“Take a break from reading about it, and picking vids apart. You can experience for yourself so soon.”
And indeed you can. No Man’s Sky launches August 9th for PS4, and August 12th for PC – with the servers being officially wiped before launch to provide a clean slate for everyone.