Few games in recent memory have been as hyped up as No Man’s Sky, which captured the imagination of gamers with a flashy 2014 E3 teaser trailer. When the game finally came out a few months ago, the response from players was negative. It only got worse as the previously very chatty Hello Games founder Sean Murray went dark. Then on Friday, Hello Games tweeted, “No Man’s Sky was a mistake.” The tweet was quickly deleted, but the damage was done.
Fans—or should I say former fans—pounced on the tweet as evidence that even the developer had to admit that No Man’s Sky was a disaster. The game has received almost no updates since launch, and none of them have added any of the promised features. In particular, players have expressed annoyance at the lack of multiplayer elements, large-scale combat, and ship customization.
The problems run deeper than missing features, though. No Man’s Sky was supposed to be a game that generates unique and interesting planets as you played. Paradoxically, after playing the game for more than a few hours, you’ve seen all it has to offer. All the planets and creatures generated in the game are technically unique, but they’re made of the same small number of parts. There are hills, but no mountain ranges; lakes, but no oceans; trees, but no forests. The game looks nothing like the trailers and screenshots Hello Games uses to promote it. In fact, that original E3 trailer is still the first thing you see on the Steam page.
So, that brings us to today, and the response to the mysterious “mistake” tweet. After more than two months of inactivity on his Twitter profile, Murray reappeared to claim the post was made due to a hack. The alleged hacker also must have gotten his or her hands on Murray’s email account, because an email from Murray to gaming site Polygon confirmed that he posted the tweet, but it was removed by someone on the team. The team, the email claims, has not been coping well with the response to No Man’s Sky. The story was later revised to place the blame for the tweet on a “disgruntled employee.”
The Hello Games Twitter account was briefly set to private following the incident. After claiming the tweet was the result of a hack, Murray said the only mistake was using LinkedIn without two-factor authorization. Whether “hacking” or a rogue employee is the more accurate explanation, things are not going well at Hello Games.