How Much Is A Promise Worth?

How Much Is A Promise Worth?

I gave up on No Man’s Sky even before I got on my suicidal Star Citizen kick. My reasons follow closely to many other’s reasons who fit into what I’m going to call the “middle of the road quitters”: it’s a big universe, but not enough diversity of the level that we feel is necessary to maintain an ongoing interest in the game. That’s me, though. I know a lot of people are as enamoured with the game now as they were on launch day.

As the fans form one side of the road (which makes way for me to inhabit the aforementioned middle), the haters form the other, darker side. Some of these people have drifted from the middle and are quick to use their excuse for not playing as a weapon waved to keep other people away from the game. Others, however, seem to have a deep seated hatred of the game based solely on the narrative that Sean Murray and Hello Games (and I suppose Sony, to a lesser extent) have outright lied to consumers, and continue to maintain a wall of silence that, in these people’s minds, only reinforces their belief that they were hoodwinked.

I read an article on NMS today arguing that the silence of Hello Games and/or Sony cedes the field to those who even talk smack at a respectable tone. By not attempting to “control the narrative”, HG/Sony are allowing haters to “write the story of NMS“. This isn’t wrong, but it’s kind of de rigeur in the games industry, really, as the level of PR spin enacted by companies varies by company, so the effectiveness of community rancor also varies…but is always present in some amount.

The primary sticking point for many people who are angry about NMS centers on what they believe to be “broken promises” made by Hello Games, and Sean Murray specifically. I’m sure I’d be raked over some kind of coals by some people for putting “broken promises” in quotes, as if that was a point up for debate: in the minds of these particular haters, the judgement has been rendered. NMS is not just a failure, but HG has doomed itself to Peter Molyneux-like levels of damnation for their transgressions. Think that’s hyperbolic? How long have you been on the Internet, exactly?

Personally, whatever HG said via Sean Murry is water under the bridge. This was a game that I found interesting on premise, not on promise. The core of that interest was having more worlds to visit than I ever could, being able to land on them, and then seamlessly leave them for the vastness of space. Anything else, really, was theoretical gravy. Being able to catalog flora and fauna? Cool! Being able to build stuff? Awesome. Being able to meet up with other players? All right! But the scope was the thing because just on the idea of having over a quintillion places to visit, land, and leave was a technological wonderment that piqued my interest.

What I got in NMS was as much as I’d personally hoped for — and not much more. I can’t see how having multiplayer in this game would sweeten the pot. Being able to build something somewhere that no one would find or visit, or more importantly, that I would abandon in short order as I continued my journey, seems pointless. But I don’t linger on what I didn’t get because I choose to focus on what I did. In this case, what I got wasn’t as good for me as I’d hoped it would be, but that’s me and says nothing about the game itself.

I can’t be bothered to concern myself with strawman arguments over “truth in advertising” (again, how long have you been on the Internet?). The fault, as always, rests with those who feel they are victims of some “scam”. No one forced anyone to give in to hype and pre-order. No one forced anyone to buy the game on day one. The lack of personal responsibility is the biggest crime here, because it’s perfectly acceptable to sit on one’s wallet for a week or two while the hype dies down and the reality sets in. Instead, it’s easier for some people to shift blame so as to remain convinced in the infallibility of their own decisions. It’s not their inability to be patient that’s at fault, it’s that the developers were rubbing their hands together in manic glee at the thought that some rube would fall for their bait and switch schemes. Everyone wants someone to blame, except themselves.

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