No Man's Sky Screenshot

Sean Murray, the famed creator of No Man’s Sky, has given some words of advice for the teams behind troubled releases such as Anthem and Fallout 76, advising developers to remain silent.

Murray has given some words of advice during his keynote panel at this year’s Develop Conference in Brighton, speaking on how his studio, Hello Games, was able to bring back its seemingly titanic blunder from the brink by simply focusing on post launch content, as opposed to getting caught up in false promises and missed deadlines.

“We went about two years without talking to press at all”, says Murray. “And we went about three months without saying anything to the community either. That was really hard. I sat down so many times and wrote the perfect blog post that was going to explain everything about the game’s development, and the road map going ahead. But I could see that it didn’t hold credibility with regards to where we were at.”

The idea of avoiding false promises is certainly a novel one. We can all agree that we would like to know exactly what’s going on, and not be told a bunch of details that simply won’t come into fruition. but at the same time, many players would still like some information. It’s hard to keep playing a title that you know is troubled without knowing what is being done to fix the problem, however Murray has this to say on the situation:

“There have been a number of games that have since come out, had a polarising launch, and that explosive mix of loads of people playing it but also problems. And I can see EA, Microsoft, or Bethesda try to placate players by just talking to them, but for right or wrong, it just doesn’t really work.”

Anthem Screenshot
Anthem had a more than troubled launch, and has barely made a noise since its release

As Murray rightly comments, this isn’t something new “You see this all the time when a big publisher will talk to the community and try to solve the problem and then get embroiled, taking up more and more of its head space.” 

The issue with Murray’s comments is that there’s noticeable distain from the remaining player base of Anthem, with the lack of communication from the developers causing increasing aggravation. Murray later told GamesRadar+ in a follow up interview that, “Your actions are so much more important than what you say.” and while this is of course true, it’s also detrimental to say that there is nothing a studio can say to help. A reasoned, empathetic response that doesn’t make false promises will always be appreciated, no matter how rare they might be at this point in time.

What do you think? Should developers remain silent? Or should they be vocal about what’s going on? Perhaps the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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