When Hype Fails Expectations: No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky Isn’t Living Up To The Hype

Two weeks ago, gamers became victims of their own excitement.

For the past two years, I, along with countless others, had been keeping my eye on an indie game called No Man’s Sky from a small publishing company called Hello Games.

No Man’s Sky had been billed as an action-adventure survival game set somewhere in the galaxy. The concept had captured the attention of gamers nationwide.

How did it do this?

Per the game’s developers, you are able to visit up to 18 quintillion planets in the vastness of space through an environment that is procedurally generated as you move along.


Here’s some of the positives about NMS, it’s actually pretty fun to play in spurts. It also has some stunning scenery as you float throughout the galaxy. Just because a game has some fun moments, doesn’t mean it isn’t without flaws.

There have been a few of these issues with No Man’s Sky.

One of the biggest problems is the repetitious nature of No Man’s Sky. While there is a large number of planets and galaxies to visit, it’s essentially like doing the same thing after awhile. After you visit about 15-20 planets you pretty much have seen what the game has to offer.

A planet might have a different name, but it still has all of the same features as all the previous ones. That green gaseous planet you were just on, now it’s orange. The landscape and topography doesn’t vary all that much as it is generating right before your eyes.

There is a laundry list of repetitive and cloned concepts throughout the game.


The interiors on the space stations where you do trade with merchants are all identical. The few intelligent lifeforms you run into are lifeless and have no story. It’s really hard to care about the plight of whatever species, when everything is so bland.

No Man’s Sky had a feature on The Colbert Report a few years ago that started the massive hype that led up to launch 2 weeks ago. Hello Games had produced demos to show off how spectacular this game was going to be. Graphics were noticeably more polished, creatures were grand in scale, and the user interface was seamless in its appearance. But in the end it was all just smoke and mirrors.

There is a large precedent for this sort of chicanery in gaming. Multi-national video game publisher Ubisoft has been doing this for years with such releases as Watchdogs, Farcry, and The Division.

This instance just stings a tad bit more just for the fact that No Man’s Sky was billed as an indie title made by a group of ragtag programmers with a pocketful of dreams. We had hoped that they would be the ones to finally justify all of our expectations through their flashy demos of gorgeous galaxies. Plus, this title came with a $60 price tag, which is usually reserved for the hefty AAA titles that we come to expect.

I can honestly say that if this game were $20-$30 the blowback and harsh feedback would not be as harsh. But price aside, this is just another example of consumers feeling jilted by a product that promised to be more than what it was.

What gamers and critics have been complaining about is what was presented and what was delivered.

There have certainly been games that have come out that have crashed and burned in a much more horrific fashion than what I’m about to get into here. The problem has become that our expectations for a game can become so strong, that anything less than perfection can turn into outright hate and bewilderment.