Expectations and hype are two things that constantly seem to be topics in gaming. These ideas are influenced by the promotion you see for a game, whether it be a new trailer, press interview, preview or review. Hype and expectations are two elements that drive satisfaction and in the case of No Man’s Sky, disappointment.
For several years, Sony and Hello Games promoted No Man’s Sky, though the game appeared infrequently. Each time gamers got a glimpse of it, hype and expectations grew. Part of what made the game so intriguing was the element of ambiguity that surrounded it.
It felt like gamers had been hearing about No Man’s Sky for quite sometime and knew enough about it, but in the end, ambiguity and indifference turned out to be the experience itself. Michael Goodman, who is the director of digital media strategies at Strategy Analytics, spoke with We Write Things about the underwhelming showing of No Man’s Sky.
“I don’t know what [Sony’s] expectations were on it. I agree with you that there seemed to be a lot of hype surrounding it. When it launched people were talking about how many concurrent users it had and within what two or three weeks it just cratered. We see this in movies all the time.
“You have that opening box office weekend where it does really well and then all of a sudden it just dies a quiet death. I feel like that’s where this game is. It started off really hot, had a lot of buzz, oh it’s groundbreaking, different and it has this and that. People tried it and found out that it’s a game where you’re kind of grinding through it,” Goodman said.
I’m sure everyone has their own reasons for why they did or did not enjoy No Man’s Sky. Personally, the grinding that Goodman described above, and experiencing little satisfaction for said grinding, is what turned me off to the game after only eight hours.
Indie games are great because often times, they make us look at games differently. AAAs are great though because there usually never is the question of, “what do I do in this game?” That is something I found too often in No Man’s Sky. Goodman spoke about the lack of direction the game had.
“When we think about most games, there’s a build up and then the boss fight. More build up and another boss fight. [In No Man’s Sky] you never had the boss. If you think about a game like Witcher 3, you could play that game for 100 plus hours, but there’s peaks and valleys to it.
“You’re doing quests and you’re accomplishing your quests. Then maybe I have to go search something, but then I accomplish something. You have big story arcs, little story arcs and these things that make it interesting. It’s not just doing the same thing, over and over and over and over again. I felt like I kept doing the same thing in [No Man’s Sky],” Goodman said.
No Man’s Sky is available now for the PS4. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on PlayStation.