Sony Exec Responds to No Man's Sky Controversy

Hello Games had an "incredible vision" for what they wanted to make.


PlayStation executive Shawn Layden appeared on the Live with YouTube Gaming show last night and discussed a number of subjects, including the reaction to controversial space game No Man's Sky.

He said developer Hello Games had an "incredible vision" for what they wanted to make (via DualShockers). The executive added that No Man's Sky, which features procedurally generated worlds, is something that had never been done in gaming. He also remarked that the team was very small (only six people developed the game) and had a "very huge ambition."

The game launched in August for PS4 and PC without a number of features that director Sean Murray discussed prior to launch; the game and its creators were criticized for this. Layden acknowledged that Hello Games is "still working at it."

"They're still updating it. They're trying to get it closer enough or closer to what their vision was," he said. "I played a lot when it came out."

"I think what we learned from that is that we don't want to stifle ambition. We don't want to stifle creativity," he added. "We don't want to put people into slots where they must execute against an action adventure path or a fighting path or a shooting path. Perhaps over time [No Man's Sky] will reveal itself to be all it can be."

Layden went on to praise Hello Games for their huge ambition for No Man's Sky, while acknowledging that "sometimes you just don't get all the way there at the first go."

"Nobody in development wants to say that they can't do a thing, right? No one wants to tell someone, 'No I can't do that for you,'" Layden said. "People are really trying. I think looking at the different industries I've had the privilege of working, the gaming industry is where everybody has the courage to say 'yes.' And they want to try to realize their ambitions. They want to try to make that vision. No one slinks away from a huge challenge. And sometimes you just don't get all the way there at the first go."

Murray, No Man's Sky's director, has talked about adding new features to the game over time as free DLC, including base-building and more. The game's latest update came out at the end of September and fixed bugs and other issues.

In September, The UK's Advertising Standards Authority launched an investigation into No Man's Sky after it received "several complaints" about the game's potentially misleading advertising. After that, the No Man's Sky subreddit was temporarily closed, after being described by its moderator as a "hate-filled wastehole."

No Man's Sky was the second best-selling game in the United States in August, behind only Madden NFL 17. The game failed to make the top 10 chart for September, while it didn't make the top 20 chart for PlayStation Store games that month.

More recently, the Hello Games Twitter account tweeted about No Man's Sky being "a mistake," but it turned out that this tweet was the result of a hack.

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Avatar image for viking_mana

"We've learned that we don't want to stifle our ambitions. We don't want to stifle creativity."

... ... ...

"Oh, and we don't want to deliver mods for Fallout 4 on time, because all of my statements only apply to this one product, and I'm a massive hypocrite. Bai!"

Avatar image for TehMasterer2

Sounds like a guy who actually understands the hardships of game development. I wonder how many of the people pouring out hate on Hello Games and NMS have actually published a game...

Avatar image for dashaka

@TehMasterer2: There's no denying that game development is hard, but they lied and proceeded to mislead millions of people by releasing something that was nothing like what they promised. They were so blatantly secret on showing or talking about the game close to release because they knew their game was nothing like they originally stayed. They deserve no pity and deserve all the hate.

Avatar image for TehMasterer2

@dashaka: Oh please, nobody deserves that much hate. Inaction is hardly a crime; it's annoying, obviously, that they didn't correct their earlier estimations of what the game would contain, but it's not like they committed genocide.

Avatar image for dashaka

@TehMasterer2: Oh so if something isn't the worst thing imaginable it should be ignored and forgiven? With that mindset, thank god you're not in any legal or government position, the world would go to shit. The guy misled a ton of people for his own benefit, he absolutely deserves all the hate he is getting.

Avatar image for TehMasterer2

@dashaka: Nobody deserves that much hate. If what Hello Games did was illegal then they should be prosecuted; but hate is immature and accomplishes nothing but destruction.

Avatar image for dashaka

@TehMasterer2: You're right, because the law is always correct and completely moral. So today I'll go trick and con a family out of all their hard earned money, but I'll make sure to do it in a smart and completely legal way. The family is now homeless and I ruined their lives, but hey I didn't technically break any laws, so I did nothing wrong and no one should dislike me. Your way of thinking is so simple minded, I won't even bother arguing with you anymore. Enjoy that bubble you live in.

Avatar image for TazmanianD

"something that had never been done in gaming" Uhhhh, minecraft? And there are other games that have made use of procedural generated content so that wasn't a new concept.

Avatar image for jurk182

Too bad they get to keep your money with absolutely zero recourse when they "don't quite make it all the way there"

The sense of entitlement to our money that software developers and publishers have is what is going to ultimately drive this industry into oblivion. There is very little incentive to create a good game as long as you hype it up and refuse to give refunds on the garbage they release.

Avatar image for EricDWright

Corporate speak for "thanks for the money....sucka"

Avatar image for PS2fweak

This is why I wait for reviews. I don't care too much about scores, but I do like to know what's included in the final product. I honestly don't care about what happened with No Man's Sky and I would never be nervous about buying any other Hello Games title. I wasn't affected by any of this "controversy". For their next game, I will just wait for reviews to see what's included in the box/download.

I was so excited about No Man's Sky, Mafia 3, and Dishonored 2 this year. I'm still just playing Overwatch, because No Man's Sky isn't what I wanted, Mafia 3 has too many problems to count, and now I have to wait even longer to find out what's going on with Dishonored 2. I just rather let other people get disappointed instead of me. I can wait and maybe play broken/incomplete games when they're super cheap, and they'll probably be in better shape further down the road anyways.

Fingers crossed for Dishonored 2. I won't be playing unless it's worth my money/time.

Avatar image for Redgarl

The medias are at fault for promoting this walk simulator.

Avatar image for babaelc

I'm calling BS

Avatar image for Royas

While I genuinely like NMS, I really don't believe it was worth the premium price that was charged for it. If it had the features that were suggested, hinted at and outright promised, it might have been, but as it is, it's a $30 indie game that was priced like it was a AAA game from a major developer. Sony sitting there and telling us the developers had a great vision doesn't help the matter. Lots of people have vision. We don't pay for having a vision, we pay for the delivery of a vision. And NMS does not deliver, however grand the ambition of the developer.

Avatar image for frodo232323

@Royas: Well said. Remains to be seen whether they are done yet. Done how it should have played out for sure. However I wonder if down the line the finished vision is delivered and beyond that. Will the mentality be that we all just experienced a much longer delay after paying upfront?

Avatar image for robbiejones

@Royas: comments too good for a gamespot comment.

Avatar image for blackace

@Royas: Well said. Having a vision and delivering on that vision are two different things. Hello Games! just didn't deliver. Maybe Sean thought they could get everything in before the release and it just didn't happen. You can't promise so many things for a game and then not deliver on it or not tell gamers before release that this content and features won't be in the game. Just very bad business. Sony said that Hello Games! were the ones who raised the price of the game, but I'm pretty sure Sony put that bug in their ear because of all the hype. Plus since Sony was the ones publishing and marketing the game, they would make much more money off a $60 game, then a $30 game.

Avatar image for cherub1000

While I won't dispute most of what the exec says, I think most of us who felt so let down was a result of being promised features that were never in the final product. I'd have no issue at all if hello games had released it for the slightly lower price and had clearly stated that what murray said IS NOT IN THE GAME ON RELEASE but will hopefully be added later. This at least would've been honest. Sure I'm a complete sucker for preordering and it's a lesson well learnt I assure you!

What now adds salt to thewound is the sheer lack of any comments from hello games, let alone sean murray. I'm well aware the game still has a relatively large fan base still and they believe that NMS will one day be everything we were told, it just baffles my brain when we try to positive about the whole issue when it really, truly feels like those of that played simply got played ourselves. I will not be purchasing anything from this company again, even when they no doubt rebrand themselves eventually and after all the NMS controversy is swept quietly under the carpet.

Avatar image for dmdavenport

I platinumed the game and enjoyed doing it. It was different and a relief from the sequelitis that permeates the industry. Wasn't the greatest game ever made, but not as bad as the haters on Reddit made it out to be.

Avatar image for foolishowl

No Man's Sky is a descendant of a genre of games involving starships, acting as traders, mercenaries, or explorers. That genre began with Star Trader in 1974. But the most influential game in the history of the genre, featuring 3D graphics and procedurally generated worlds, was Elite, in 1984. You could play it on a Commodore 64.

So the very features the Sony exec described as unprecedented are among the oldest game design techniques there are, and was present in more sophisticated games thirty years ago.

And, to reiterate what others have said, it's absurd to talk about Sony's hopes about what the game may eventually become. It's a published game with almost none of its advertised features, not a disappointing pilot for a new TV show. This is far beyond a few missed features that can be filled in with some DLC.

Avatar image for calinpuscas

so they wanna sell "an ambition" of six with 59,99? how much for a finite product?

Avatar image for streetmagik

Well, as a King Astronaut Doctor, I like to command my subjects to make grilled cheese sandwiches for me. It's a complete rip off to pay for bread with crust on it when it's just going to be cut off and thrown at commoners. Ewwwww, crust.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

The hacker was right. No Man's Sky was nothing more than an attempt to make a quick buck without earning it by scamming gamers.

Avatar image for zyxahn

To me, the fact that they charged $59.99 for it shows that they knew it wasn't going to work. This should have been a $19.99 game. I know some will say even that's to expensive. Regardless, that's what it should have costed.

Avatar image for InYourMouf

@zyxahn: 20 bucks, early access. That's where it belonged.

Avatar image for Scarshi

Too little, too late. I hate you Sony and Hello Games. You took a perfectly good thing and ruined it due to impatience and greed.

I just don't care anymore. Relationship is dead. I've moved on. Lets not be just friends...

Avatar image for Bond_Villain

it wasn't a very good game, there were bits missing.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

@Bond_Villain: I think part of the reason Nintendo had an issue with No Mario's Sky was because they didn't want Mario to be associated with this disaster of a game. From what I've heard, No Man's Sky was pretty bad.

Avatar image for moriwenne

The entire answer is beside the point. This is acceptable if the question was "Everyone had high hopes for No Man's Sky, why did it got canceled?".

The point is, game wasn't ready. It was arguably at half of it's development cycle. When Sony got involved they should've brought their dev power into the team, increased the budget, get more people and finish the feature set. It didn't have to be perfect but it certainly had to be much fuller and richer than it was.

Instead it was an empty shell of a game that was sold as a full game at a very high premium and worst of all, it was ADVERTISED as such.

So, to come back to the article, this answer is unacceptable. Spin city all over.

Avatar image for cherub1000

@moriwenne: agreed, as much as the article tries to answer for thier behaviour, it doesn't excuse the fact that they released a blatantly unfinished game despite selling it as such.

A real shame really as the potential here is phenomenal, however so much damage has been done, I believe it's only ever going to be a forgotten shadow of what it could've been.

Avatar image for SingletreeAve

What's the big deal. Ubisoft continually releases crappy games created by an army of developers. Six guys coming up a little short on their first attempt seems forgivable.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

@SingletreeAve: It doesn't seem that way when the game was deliberately hyped up and negative feedback, reviews, etc. was silenced.

Avatar image for alienvangarde

Like I said before, Sony is using Hello Games/Sean Murray as scapegoat for the bad decision making. Is not Sean Murray's fault that they were pressured into releasing this game

Avatar image for freeryu

@alienvangarde: Even if it was Sony's fault no one would care.

Avatar image for SCImonTemplar

This Sony D-hole speaking in circles to not fully come out and say, "the game was garbage, but i'm contractually obligated to say it was great". Do you think they'll ever get the correct number of people who helped make the game? This guy says 6 people, and others have said ranges from 12-20 (I think SM said it was 15 if i'm remembering correctly). They seem to lower the number each time to maybe make us feel bad for them and their discrepancies.

Avatar image for InYourMouf

And as a car salesman, it's perfectly acceptable to sell a car without air conditioning after telling the customer there is air conditioning.

Avatar image for chad_pattan

@InYourMouf: Not defending No Man's Sky, but let's analyze what you said.

If a car salesman said (specifically) "Yes, this car can include air conditioning" and the customer doesn't test drive it, only to find out after signing the deal that there's no air conditioning...did the salesman lie? No. The customer didn't ask for it. They said it CAN include it. Not that it's guaranteed.

Some people are claiming that the trailers were an example of what would eventually be there. No guarantees that it would be there day one. So who's wrong?

If you ask me (and I have not nor will play No Man's Sky), this reminds me of that old Halo E3 demo from 2003 where it showed a totally different experience than what we got in Halo 2, stages that weren't even part of the final game and gameplay that totally mismatched. It passed, people got over it. People will get over this too.

Avatar image for InYourMouf

@chad_pattan: The problem with your argument is that Hello Games did not say it "can" include features, they said it 'DOES" include features--features that did not make it into the final game. They are also advertising said features on their Steam product page. These videos and screenshots show a game that we did not get, which is 100% false advertising.

Avatar image for Foxhound71

No Mans Sky will be remembered by gamers for all the wrong reasons. It's going to take more than some base building dlc to fix that shit.
My only regret is not refunding when I had the chance. Expecting the updates and dlc to come in hot and heavy. Now I shake my head when I see the logo.

Avatar image for ecurl143

Bottom line is that this game should never have retailed at 60 bucks. It just isn't worth that kind of asking price for what you're getting.

No Mans Sky unfortunately, will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Ranking as one of the biggest hyped cons in video game history.

Avatar image for Adenosine

It doesn't matter what your job is. The foundation of trust are promises that come true. If you promise your customers something and sell them that thing, then they better get it "as advertised".

Avatar image for Savior4Life

One of the biggest insults I find to gamers is that the E3 trailer is still a video on display on their Steam store page!

Avatar image for jerms82

i just find murray's lack of communication so insulting. i can't think of another company that hasn't at least attempted to mitigate damage in some way.

Avatar image for Afinati

"Nobody in development wants to say that they can't do a thing, right?"

But you can't say you'll do the thing in your advertising and not do it. No matter how it feels, you shouldn't mislead consumers.

Avatar image for ralphikari

Speaking as a senior indie developer, I can't disagree with Layden more. My team try our best to keep the projects within scope, budget and schedule. I remind my guys repeatedly not to overhype, and when we try something outlandish, it would be in the form of a prototype and not production code of a $60 game.

If dreams and visions are what you have for sale, may I suggest the real estate or the snake oil industry?

Avatar image for ArchoNils2

**** this guy. Murray was never talking about a vision. He was asked "Does that exist" and he said yes. He said there are features in the game that never were. He didn't state that it wass planned, a vision or anything. So **** the Sony guy trying to protect Hello Games

Avatar image for Yams1980

The game was fun for some people. But for most, they lost interest after a couple hours, and that is a rip off for the crazy 60 dollar pricetag they put on this game. Not to mention the really bad crashes that happened on both the console and PC versions.

If they had charged 10-15 dollars for this game, there would be no controversy. The last couple weeks i've finally got around to playing Batman Arkham Knight, and the game is long as hell and is filled with content, and yet costs the same as no mans sky? I'm only around 60% done the game and put in over 25 hours so far and haven't even done the DLC or most of the optional missions...

If a person buys something and gets no fun or gameplay out of it, thats the problem with no mans sky. It has nothing to it, it has no storyline, bad gameplay and it costs the same as much much better games.

Avatar image for nyran125tk

If they didnt lie about it, we wouldnt be having this conversation or if they weren't lying, they certainly were bending the truth slightly and the bent truth sold them a LOT of copies of the game.