Whoa, whoa, whoa… lower your pitchforks. Allow me to clarify, I don’t think No Man’s Sky will be a disappointment. But I do think far too many people have gotten themselves too hyped up for a game which can’t possibly live up to expectations, because those expectations are unachieveable.
The problem developers always encounter, whether their game is big or small, is that gamers love to project their imagination on a game and then just assume that this will be in the game. For example, let’s say there’s a game in which you build houses. Players will suddenly start assuming that you can live in the houses, and live a life, even though the game doesn’t mention or imply this in any of it’s marketing materials. Obviously this is an extreme example, but hopefully you get the point.
This can be a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because it gets people talking about the game, gets people excited and helps drive hype. It can end up being a bad thing though when the game launches, and people see that the game is nothing like they imagined. When marketing a game it’s important to balance the two to ensure things don’t get out of control.
Unfortunately I’ve seen a lot of this type of projection on No Man’s Sky, and I am genuinely worried about what the aftermath will be once the game launches.
I personally think that No Man’s Sky will be a good game, after all I don’t really have any reason to believe otherwise. From everything I’ve seen nothing makes me think “Uh-Oh”. I’m just going to get the game, play it for what it is and review it appropriately. I, somewhat purposefully, haven’t been rigorously following the game for this very reason. From the second it was announced it had nothing but hype and fan-fair surrounding it and having been in the industry for a long time, I know that it’s best to distance myself from that type of excitement. A lot of gamers though don’t do that level of hype-management, which just ends up with them feeling betrayed.
The thing which makes No Man’s Sky so susceptible to this level of hype-generation is the core concept itself. Set in space, travelling to different worlds… it’s ripe for letting the imagination go wild. Indeed, that’s part of the appeal of No Man’s Sky. I just hope that when gamers finally get their hands on the game, they don’t let their projection of what the game should be get in the way of what the game actually is.
If that ends up being the case then Hello Games could have a lot of problems on their hands post-launch and a perfectly good game could be marred by misplaced hopes and dreams.