Today on Twitter, those who were paying attention were treated to an extremely bizarre situation involving the development studio behind the much maligned No Man’s Sky. It all started when a single tweet went out from Hello Games official Twitter account that stated quite simply, “No Man’s Sky was a mistake”. In understanding developer habits as it relates to social media and their respective games, it was assumed that this was simply a hacked twitter account. Unfortunately, it happens from time to time, but is a part of the social media experience. Before long the tweet was deleted and Hello Games account was switched over to private. Typically this would be standard practice as the owner of the account would take the time to perform some damage control before opening the account up to the public again. Normally that would be the final step in remedying the situation, but it turns out that this was just the beginning of what would end up being a very unique Twitter exchange.
After the tweet went out, various outlets reached out to Hello Games to ascertain the validity of the tweet. This was met with an email response that verified that Sean Murray, the lead developer on the game, was responsible for the tweet and that someone else on the development team had deleted it. Not long after that an email went out that was supposedly from Sean Murray himself. This email was posted on Kotaku’s website:
No Man’s Sky was a mistake.
I have contacted you because the silence from Hello Games has been unwarranted and unprofessional. The community has asked me to speak up, and I have a confession to make. The game was simply unfinished upon arrival. Our hand was forced by not only Sony, but the community as well. The constant harassment and absolute gross misconduct on the community’s part has made it hard to fulfill our artistic vision, while the pressure from Sony to release the game as soon as possible forced us to cut key features. I want to apologize for what we did not deliver on, as the game does not meet up to what our artistic vision was.
However, we do wish that the community was more understanding of our situation. Many people have asked for refunds despite our promise to continually improve and update No Man’s Sky. We are just a small studio that has poured our blood, sweat, and tears into this project. The complete lack of respect when it comes to the work we have done absolutely saddens not only myself, but the team as well. We want to improve the game to the point we dreamed of it being and beyond.
I hope everyone affected understands,
A short while later it was then confirmed that the email was fake and that the email accounts themselves had been hacked as well. Kellen Beck from Mashable was able to confirm that a disgruntled former employee had hacked the twitter account and the e-mail accounts. Around the same time this tweet was sent out by Sean Murray:
And culminating with this exchange with Hello Games:
It was a strange sequence of events to be sure, but it was great to see that Sean Murray still has his sense of humor. He and the rest of the team have not had an easy road for the last several months, and they could have used the events of today as en excuse to remain silent. This scenario, once again, opened the floodgates to the people who feel that they have been personally insulted by the release of this video game. While people have justification to be frustrated with the marketing that surrounded this game, there is absolutely no justification to attack the tremendous people that poured their life into the development of this game while trying to deliver on their artistic visions. Today could have been much worse, but the perseverance and sense of humor of that little English studio helped stave off most of the negativity for another day.