No Man’s Sky boss on why placating players with prattle rather than proof doesn’t work

    
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Oh, hey, didn't see you guys.

Sometimes, as media, and surely as players, we wish a studio would just… stop talking. Just be quiet. Nothing you say is going to help, so just zip up your marketing team’s mouth and buckle down and do the work. When people are already predisposed to disbelieve what you say, don’t say anything – show.

That’s something No Man’s Sky boss Sean Murray says he learned first-hand. As part of his keynote for Develop Brighton this week, he explained that after No Man’s Sky’s initial launch – an absolute bomb punctuated with death threatsdev hackingsocial media meltdowns, and accusations of consumer deception – he avoided doing press interviews and dashing off the “perfect blog post that was going to explain everything about the game’s development” in favor of just shutting up. “I could see that it didn’t hold credibility with regards to where we were at,” he told listeners. Nodding to some of the other floundering titles – like Anthem and Fallout 76 – he subtly offers the same advice to them.

“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. 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.”

Will shushing up work for other studios? Maybe. No Man’s Sky has since pushed out multiple wideranging, well-received, totally free expansions and secured the adoration of fans. Do struggling games have anything to lose?

Source: GamesRadar. Thanks, Steve!
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Bruno Brito

You don’t placate folks with “We made the game we wanna play” when the game is a complete piece of shit.

I get Sean’s point here, but the problem isn’t “putting up while shutting up”, but being tossed PR responses that aren’t even apologies while the games being bought with hard earned currency from these players are being left to rot.

Communication has to be crystal clear, honest and it should NOT be a substitute for work.

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Jon Wax

Nms was fine and was exactly what was advertised. Buncha babies got flustered by lack of sandworms. Only problem with it was derpy community that went full bitch mode. This website has turned into echo chamber garbage. Based on how few comments there are these days be surprised if it lasts the year.

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Sray

Not true. Murray was asked point blank if players could play together, and he said yes while knowing full well that the game was launching without multiplayer interactivity. That is not an opinion or an overreaction to hype: that’s a lie.

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Sray

This is weird: this comment was a response to a comment on Raf’s post about not lying further down the page, but seems to have become abandoned into being a comment unto itself.

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rafael12104

Heh. I had my rebuttal ready and vid to boot. But… yeah. It’s gone. Lol. Ah no worries.

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Sray

I think Sean Murray misses the prime distinction between No Man’s Sky and the other games in question: NMS doesn’t have microtransactions. If you’re going to dump an unfinished game on the public for sixty bucks, and then have the nerve to keep asking for more, then you damned well had best be telling your customers what the hell is going on as well as getting out those fixes in a timely manner.

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Paragon Lost

Error

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Paragon Lost

Try this again…. Made me think of this…

tenor.gif
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Robert Mann

You don’t have to shut up. There are two deadly errors companies can make online. The first is lying to cover themselves, because it ALWAYS comes back to bite them. The second is getting involved in a flame war with customers.

After that, all that is needed is follow through. You do what needs done, and it will get you respect and attention on the positive end.

*Yes, this was a little Princess Bride parody here, sorry if it’s rather not quite put together perfectly as I’m in the middle of a few other things too!*

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

That is so well put. Thank you.

Still, I find it uplifting to see someone who appears to have tackled their own mistakes with reflection rather than deflection. That young man shows some grit.

I may finally check out NMS, just to see what he’s been able to do since the launch disaster.

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Robert Mann

He’s… still got a way to go, given that he never said sorry for the outright lies involved so far as I have seen. The game is definitely much improved from what I have seen/read though, so at least there’s follow through on fixing things after the fact (still think that the lack of a sorry so much is a negative mark on future efforts though).

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rafael12104

Well, well, well. So it seems Mr. Murray did learn something from the NMS launch debacle. You can’t always be sure these days.

I don’t disagree with his position either. Despite that fact that many gamers take it personally when devs don’t communicate (see Anthem), I think that shutting up and delivering good work goes a long way to revitalize a struggling game.

BUT, Mr. Murray did omit one key tenant from his sage advice. And that is: Don’t Lie! Yup, that makes things worse by an order of magnitude.

Because let’s be honest, a community will not be toxic if you have been open and honest with them from the start. They may not like some things and there is always the wayward trolls taking a piss. But generally, the community will be right there with the devs supporting them if given a good reason.

But when you lie, and they find out? When you fib and it is blatantly obvious? You will lose all credibility. And to make matters worse, the community will then dig in to see what else you are lying about.

Step one: Don’t lie. Step two: Talk less and work more. Step three: Don’t lie.

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Dug From The Earth

All He needed to say was, “because Anthem…”

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Danny Smith

Shame it took being a massive liar and tarnishing his companies reputation to begin with to learn that lesson.

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Arktouros

It’s almost like this thing where you have a sort of credit with the people and when you lie to them and mislead them that credit defaults and is no good. It doesn’t spend anymore. It’s like a “credit-ability” if you will. Wow, credibility, we just invented a new word for such a brand new concept and it’s only Tuesday.

This week is going great.