No Man’s Sky has undoubtedly been one of the most controversial videogame releases of 2016, and the game was mostly in the news for all the wrong reasons.
The developers Hello Games and it’s founder Sean Murray largely avoided discussing in public what exactly went wrong with the game, and were radio silent for months after it release. This led to a lot of fan outrage which eventually mellowed down.
Fast forward a few months, and Sean was finally willing to disclose a few new details during GDC 2017 about what exactly went wrong. Murray disclosed that his team made a very poor prediction about the concurrent players who’ll play the game on launch day.
It predicted the maximum number to be 14,000 while the actual number went on to become 500000 concurrent users. 250,000 of those were playing on various diff PC configurations.
Murray further revealed that the company’s networking team, which comprised of only one staff member, was overwhelmed by the response and struggled to keep things together. This inexperience led to several issues during the early days of the game.
Murray stated – “It was far beyond what I’d experienced before, in terms of people playing a game.”
Murray also disclosed that the studio he ran (Hello Games) comprised of only nine employees over the last five years and revealed that the actual world-building data of No Man’s Sky was only 300MB at launch. The rest of the 2GB (which was the game’s size at launch) consisted of pre-baked UI assets and audio files.
He also said that the studio was running out of money while making the game which proved to be a challenge while “trying to finish something you care about really creatively.”
Although he’s still not given any clear answers for the debacle that was No Man’s Sky, from a gamer’s perspective (it was a huge commercial success), he’s definitely provided some insight about went wrong.
Regardless, No Man’s Sky went on to win the award for the “most innovative game” at GDC 2017, an award, nobody from Hello Games was physically present to receive.