Sean Murray has discussed Hello Games’ next game, “a huge, ambitious game like No Man’s Sky.”
Speaking to Polygon in an interview, he discusses how he used to work at Electronic Arts (EA), and constantly worked on sequels, must to his dismay. “I had worked at EA before I started Hello Games, and we’d just done lots of sequels. Everything that I worked on was the sequel to something. I found that a bit of a depressing thing in some ways. It was part of the reason for moving.”
Ironically, Hello Games’ first two projects were Joe Danger and Joe Danger 2. Despair over falling into making sequels motivated the starting work for No Man’s Sky.
“I had a little bit of a midlife crisis [after Joe Danger 2]. That’s what started No Man’s Sky, you know, I felt a panic. I knew as a studio I wanted to do the game that No Man’s Sky became eventually, but I was like, what if I never get to make that and what if we just keep doing the next thing and the next thing and life moves on. I was starting to think about having kids and stuff, but I was just like, maybe this is it? Maybe I just find myself on this treadmill forever?”
This lead to the ambitious No Man’s Sky. The game’s launch was infamously bad, riddled with bugs and missing features. Many felt it was a scam, despite Hello Games having suffered a flood, and no public relations to help a floundering Murray in front of the camera. You can find more in the comedy documentary by Internet Historian. Editor’s Note: Internet Historian is not affiliated with Niche Gamer.
Hello Games updated the game extensively, salvaging the reputation of the game and the studio. Now the 26-person studio is working between No Man’s Sky, and the next “big” project. Murray did not reveal much about the upcoming game, but did discuss how the lessons learned from No Man’s Sky.
“There is this poison chalice or deal with the devil that I think any indie game developer would find actually a very difficult choice, right? The choice that we had with No Man’s Sky where if I was to go back again, I would find it very difficult to know what the right path was. Where you will have incredible interest in your game, you will have a huge amount of excitement for it. But you will be in a rocket ship, launching towards the sun, and you will be building that rocket on the way up.
And there is an excitement and a craziness to that. Where we’ve ended up with the game, where we have hundreds of millions of hours played and a really happy community and all of that kind of thing, you know, I’m OK with that deal that we did, right?”
Murray admits the initial reception to No Man’s Sky caused a toll on the team’s mental health. “That was a very, very hard process and I wouldn’t want to put anyone through that again.”
Polygon then asked Murray would he “prefer to follow that same, chill tempo for the team’s next big No Man’s Sky-sized project? Would it be better to just shock everyone with a surprise launch out of nowhere?” Murray’s answer was unsure.
“I think about it a lot and I don’t know where I come down on it. There is a really positive thing about talking about your game a lot. Where you get people interested in it who wouldn’t have played it otherwise. We see that with No Man’s Sky. We appealed to a huge amount of people, a lot of whom wouldn’t have known about the game otherwise, right? If we’d stealth-launched it or whatever, some of our biggest fans would never have heard about it.
So it’s very difficult. But I look back, having done a lot of different press opportunities and things like that. And I reckon about half of what we did — and a lot of where we had problems, I think, where we were naive — we didn’t really need to do and we would have had the same level of success, you know? And that’s my own personal take. Right? A lot of opportunities were put in front of us, and we were told that they were the right things to do and I look back and I’m not sure that they were super, super important to the overall outcome kind of thing.”
We will keep you informed as we learn more.