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- No Man's Sky
Two months ago No Man's Sky made its controversial debut. Launch day was hopeful as a massive day one patch arrived to quell many concerns raised during the prior days. Positivity wouldn't last long, though. Among the thousands of gamers who began exploring the game's seemingly infinite universe were two Twitch streamers. These two individuals made it their mission to meet on the same planet at the same time to find out once and for all what happens when two players converge. The outcome was upsetting.
The two players managed to arrive at the same location on the same planet, but were unable to see each other. Made worse, their actions on the planet had no impact on the environment for the other player. One of No Man's Sky's greatest mysteries had finally been solved, but with the worst results possible.
Due to the way No Man's Sky's multiplayer was described before release, this caused mass outrage. The primary goal of many players dematerialized overnight, killing off one of the greatest incentives for exploration. This left only one long-term goal for players in the universe: reaching the center of the galaxy.
As this happened, Designer Sean Murray took to Twitter to share his shock at how two players managed to reach the same location, and further implied that there is some form of multiplayer interaction. His posts stated:
As gamers would come to know in the following weeks, there was nothing that two players could do to interact no matter how hard they tried.
The negative press didn't end there. Players would come to find out that their discoveries in the game world, which were marketed as one of the core features of No Man's Sky, would be removed from the servers after a short period of time. Without a proper system for marking and revisiting previously explored star systems, this largely defeated the notion of players leaving a trail behind.
And then the first few players reached the center of the galaxy. What was long considered to be the greatest secret of the game was revealed to be its most disappointing quality. The 30+ hour trek across dozens of star systems to reach the galactic core had no reward in-store for players. Instead, it respawned players on the outskirts of another galaxy.
Even through all of this, some players have held onto hope by believing that an imminent post-launch update could add multiplayer functionality as well as a proper reward for reaching the center of the galaxy. Most players just want closure with an explanation from Sean Murray.
Yet here we are more than two months out from launch, and Sean Murray hasn't said a word.
Any and all forms of positive mind share that No Man's Sky had has evaporated by now. The game currently holds a 12% approval rating on Steam, among the lowest in the platform's history with more than 5,000 negative reviews in the past month alone. Its official Subreddit has become a place for customers to voice their dissatisfaction with such overwhelming objection that one of its mods attempted to delete the Subreddit last week. Sony even felt pressure, which it deflected by stating that it was Hello Games PR that made promises and priced the game at $59.99.
No Man's Sky has devolved into insignificance during the past 60 days as even the most loyal players have vacated the premises, leaving the game with an active player population of under 1,000 on Steam. The PS4 version faces similar abandonment.
Despite the game's reputation becoming dilapidated, the world still doesn't know the story of how a game with so much promise fell apart. Sean Murray has disappeared, Hello Games' Producer and Community Manager have left their jobs, and the promise of communication and frequent post-release updates has been broken.
We might never find out how gameplay elements shown in pre-release content disappeared in the final hours of development, how a beloved developer like Sean Murray could overpromise a game to a point of being compared to Peter Molyneux, or how a game capable of appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and earning Best of E3 rewards became so unsatisfying to play. Two months out from release disclosure seems unlikely, leaving behind remnants of a game that could have been so much more.
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