No Man’s Sky Is Easily One Of Gaming’s Greatest Comeback Stories

Hello Games somehow turned a dumpster fire into an amazing space exploration RPG.

Story Highlights

  • No Man’s Sky was universally panned when it released in 2016.
  • Hello Games, the studio behind it, took the criticism to heart and continued to develop the title.
  • After 7 years of free updates, the game is better than anyone could have ever expected. 

The year is 2016. After years of anticipation and hype for Hello Games’s massive space exploration RPG, No Man’s Sky, the game finally comes out. And then, it almost immediately gets destroyed by fans. Turns out, many of the big promises that the developers, especially Sean Murray, made for the game, simply didn’t pan out. The game got panned critically too, and was generally seen as one of the biggest dumpster fires to date.

Over at Hello Games, there was radio silence. The developers made some vague comments about the mixed reception but were mostly silent. Many gamers thought this was going to be yet another case of a studio running away with players’ money, never delivering on the promises they made. But in November, the developers addressed the concerns the players had and vowed to make the game better.

This set the foundation for what would eventually be one of the best comeback stories in gaming. The studio continued to keep its head down and worked on No Man’s Sky. This time, it didn’t make any big promises, and instead, chose to let its work do the talking. The result? The game now offers all the features players anticipated at launch, and tons more. Here’s how. 

About the Author: Danish Bukhari has diverse experience in various RPG titles. With over 200+ hours played in games like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Elden Ring, he is uniquely knowledgeable on the subject.

Features Upon Features

It’s clear that No Man’s Sky took player feedback to heart. Even though some gamers definitely crossed a line, even going as far as to send the studio death threats, Sean and the rest of the folks over at Hello Games, didn’t let this deter them. It was clear that apologies or even bold statements weren’t going to win over the fans. Taking action was the only way.

The studio first started out by introducing all of the core features that players wanted at launch. Base building, an improved story mode, and an actually functioning multiplayer system were all introduced. By this point, the game was already beginning to take the form of the title that was promised back at launch. But Hello Games wasn’t done. In fact, they were only just starting.

No Man's Sky's Next Update Completely Transformed The Game (via Hello Games).
No Man’s Sky’s Next Update Completely Transformed The Game (via Hello Games).

The dev team continued to pump out little updates here and there, before finally revealing the next big step in their No Man’s Sky journey. This was their “NEXT” update, which completely overhauled large portions of the game. I think it’s fair to say that this could have served as an entire sequel to the base game. Or at least a paid DLC. But despite that, Hello Games offered it all for free.

Everything Promised At Launch And More

By this point, No Man’s Sky had already won over a sizable amount of its fans. By most measures, the game had achieved what it had set out to do. But Sean Murray has since then continued to pump out amazing, free content for the game. We now have things like VR support, incredible biome diversity, in-depth space travel with mechs, the ability to create sprawling cities and lots more.

YouTube video

The game is pretty much a wonderland of possibility for anyone who loves space exploration RPGs. Even going as far as to make competitors like Starfield look downright unfinished in comparison. The amount of content we’ve seen since 2016 is well worth the initial price. Most other developers would probably have charged you twice or thrice by releasing this stuff as sequels. 

Needless To Say, They’ve Won The Gaming Community Over

It’s hard to change people’s opinions, especially when you’ve had as shaky of a launch as No Man’s Sky did. But Hello Games and Sean Murray prove that with genuine dedication, it is entirely possible. I’m sure there were days when the devs felt like it would’ve been easier to simply give up. People would’ve forgotten about the terrible launch, and Hello Games would’ve been swimming in cash regardless.

byu/CleverTrover from discussion

But the fact that the studio remained committed, and not only fixed the game after its launch but then made up for it by providing 7 years of free DLC is amazing. It’s unheard of in the industry, even when comparing it to some of gaming’s most respected studios like FromSoftware and Larian.

It’s unclear just when Hello Games plans on closing the book for No Man’s Sky. But either way, it’ll go down as one of gaming’s biggest comebacks.

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Danish is an opinion piece writer at eXputer who loves sharing his takes on the industry. He is a long-time PC gamer with a passion for delving into the discussion and discourse surrounding the titles that he plays. Often eager to jump right into the fold and formulate his take on the latest topics, his noteworthy presence on gaming forums, and keen insight help him understand the gaming community in a thorough manner. This helps him provide a more nuanced look into any topic or discussion.

Writes Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Mass Communication.

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