No Man's Sky was an incredibly ambitious project when it was first revealed, and much of the early conversations about the game now ring with a bombastic tune. After all, the game we were promised was very far from the game we received, though that hasn't stopped people from playing it.
Speaking with IGN in a recent interview, Hello Games founder Sean Murray discussed the lessons the dev studio learned from the mistakes of No Man's Sky, which boils down to some pretty basic truths about game development:
"We messed up some of the easy things, in that we talked about the game too early. We were really excited when we talked about the game. We talked about features as they were in development. Press would say to us, 'It's so nice to get to sit down with a developer and just talk, you know? You guys don't seem scripted.' And we were like, 'Yeah, we don't. Why does everyone else do that?'.
"I now understand why everyone does that."
Murray has learned his lesson to the point where Hello Games has a gag rule on all unfinished ideas. That is, no one on the team is to talk to the press about anything that isn't finished. It's a complete 180 from where things stood only a few years ago, and we hope it works out.
However, too much silence can also be a problem, as many developers have learned in the last few years, their fanbase doesn't like it if they make major changes without a considerable amount of transparency. This might be why Murray is back in front of the press to talk about No Man's Sky's NEXT update and what comes after.
And, from what Murray has told IGN, there is quite a bit for players to look forward to now that they've had a chance to sink their teeth into a ton of long-awaited features:
"What we want to get across, and this sounds weird, is, like, 'This isn't it'."
"We worried that people would think that we're releasing this update on the second anniversary of the launch, we're coming out on Xbox, and then we weren't going to do anymore to it. And actually that's not how we work."
"There was a thing we were trying to do at launch," Murray explains of his original lonely vision for the game, "and it was a very polarizing thing. But it was also a super difficult thing and something that we were really proud of. But over time we've just grown and grown what that thing is, and what it can be. Our long term vision is to add to that until it becomes bigger and bigger.
"And that's kind of the way we foresee it for the foreseeable future. We always said before the game came out that we were going to update the game continuously post launch. I would've liked to update it even more regularly, and we're going to start doing that now. And I know it can be difficult for people – some people think it's a negative that you're continuously updating the game. Hopefully most people think it's a positive, it's a cool thing. What we see a lot of is people playing No Man's Sky for X number of hours, then going away, then coming back to that experience."
Multiplayer seems like it'll be pretty big in Hello Games' future plans, but Murray is continuing to be vague about any future updates. Given No Man's Sky's particular history, that's probably a good thing.