When Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky released last month, a lot of consumers weren’t happy with the perceived disparity between the game they got and they game they thought Hello Games had been promising them since its December 2013 reveal trailer. Speaking with Eurogamer at the Tokyo Game Show, Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida empathized with those feeling buyer’s remorse.
“I understand some of the criticisms especially Sean Murray is getting, because he sounded like he was promising more features in the game from day one,” Yoshida told Eurogamer.
Continuing, Yoshida said that Hello Games lacked “a great PR strategy.” The reason for the studio’s lackluster public relations strategy, according to the Sony executive, was that Hello Games elected neither to hire an in-house public relations representative or an external public relations agency. Yoshida focused on the fact that game’s director, Sean Murray, is a game developer and not a PR expert, but he essentially handled all PR for the wildly hyped game on his own.
Yoshida clearly sees this as a mistake, and it’s likely anyone familiar with the situation would agree with him. He still finds the game enjoyable, and he says the developers wanted it to be more than it is, but he understands some of the consumer backlash.
“I had the opportunity to play the game right before launch — and I restarted playing the game on launch day with the Day One patch — so I could see the struggle for the developers to get the game out in the state that they wanted,” he said.
On the eve of No Man’s Sky’s release, Murray blogged about what the game is and is not. He said at the time that “the game looks and plays just as we aimed to.”
However, he also tried to mitigate runaway expectations at that late hour by admitting that No Man’s Sky “maybe isn’t the game you *imagined*” (emphasis Murray’s) from watching its trailers and if you were expecting multiplayer, city/civilization building, or freighter piloting. Continuing, he added that “Over time it might become some of those things through updates.”
Yoshida is “looking forward” to additional features Hello Games develops and patches into No Man’s Sky. But many gamers don’t want to wait to see if this content will start to bridge the gap between expectation and reality.
Some buyers are looking for refunds, but Sony has denied them. Eurogamer obtained a statement Sony is sending to those asking for their money back, which details the changes the game underwent during development before explaining that, as per standard Sony policy, there would be no refunds for anyone who purchased the game.
Owners of the PC version are facing a similar issue, with Valve standing by its standard policy of only issuing refunds to those who play a game for two hours or less and request a refund within two weeks of their purchase.