It’s better to be late than never.
It’s been five years since No Man’s Sky, the hyped-up Cyberpunk 2077 of its time, was released. After transforming one of gaming’s biggest flops into a success, it has now received a “Mostly Positive” rating on Steam.
The anticipation for No Man’s Sky in the run-up to its 2016 release was so intense that developer Hello Games got death threats due to a 49-day delay. People were excited about the space sim because of the talk of 18 quintillion procedurally generated planets and the movies shown off at award shows, but they were disappointed when it launched without many features (including multiplayer), loaded with bugs, and bearing little resemblance to the pre-release trailers.
Refund requests flooded gaming platforms, and the UK investigated Hello Games for misleading advertising—the company was found not guilty, but the reaction led to Valve barring bullshots from its Steam listings. The lowest point, though, was arguably when, just over a month after its release, No Man’s Sky dropped from a peak of 212,321 concurrent Steam gamers to fewer than 1,000.
Many companies might have given up at this point and moved on to another project, writing off No Man’s Sky in the process. But Hello Games, to its credit, didn’t give up. The company continued to put out updates and patches, moving No Man’s Sky ever closer to the title people were initially promised. In 2018, the fourth and largest update, Next, did the previously unthinkable: it pushed NMS to the top of the Steam charts. It also helped move its Recent Reviews rating from Mixed to Very Positive.
Due to the huge number of negative reviews the game received upon release, it’s taken longer for No Man’s Sky’s overall rating to improve. Moving from Overwhelmingly Negative to Mixed took two years from launch. Now, three years later, it has finally reached Mostly Positive, meaning 70% or more ratings are favorable ones. The change also means the rating’s color changes from a shameful yellow hue to a glorious shade of blue.
No Man’s Sky released its latest update, named Frontiers, last week. It adds what Hello Games describes as Moss Eisely type settlements to the universe. Not only can you visit these locations, but you can also become mayor and grow them into prosperous, larger colonies.
Not everyone is impressed by what Hello Games and Sean Murray have achieved. Earlier this year, Thomas Mahler, Moon Studios founder and director of the Ori series, called them—and CD Projekt Red—”snake oil salesmen.”
“They [Hello Games] released a bunch of updates, so let’s forget about the initial lies and deception and hey, let’s actually shower him with awards again, cause he finally kinda sorta delivered on what he said the game would be years earlier. Thanks, Geoff Keighley. Rewarding that kinda behavior will surely help the industry grow stronger,” said Mahler.