Editorial: Should We Give No Man’s Sky Another Chance?

Dang, the Ewoks really did a number on this AT-AT!
Paging Lucasfilms to this picture….

No Man’s Sky is probably one of the most anticipated games of all time, that fell flat on its face when it was released. Most players (this writer included) were disappointed with the lack of things to do in the game. One can only explore the same type of planet so many times, with nothing else to do, before it gets dull. Players were so disappointed with the game that UK’s watchdog advertising board looked into the release, to ensure that consumers were not misled by the developers pre-release. This board recently ruled that consumers were not misled by the pre-release hype. Most developers would say, “Oh well,” and move on to their next game. Hello Games, the developer of No Man’s Sky, decided to go a different route and recently released a major updated called the “Foundation Update.” This update includes new game modes, the beginning of base building elements, and farming elements. This update is so big that it completely changes the way the game can be played, but should we care? Should we give the game another chance, because Hello Games is trying to give what most consider a failed release a future?

Imagine all the hours it took the 14 year old to build this...
Minecraft at its finest.

No Man’s Sky is not the first game to do this. Minecraft is the first game that comes to mind that has had almost constant updates since it was first released to the public in 2009. Its first public release had almost nothing in it, just a few things to play around in Creative mode. The Survival mode, which most people now play, was not released until months later. In fact, an actual non-alpha or beta version did not come out until 2011. Since then the game has gone on to include Hardcore, Adventure, and Spectator modes, as well as multiplayer. These constant, free updates have helped the game sell over 106 million copies world wide, over a few different platforms. Not only that, but almost every single person on Earth has either played or at least heard of the game. Notice the similarity between No Man’s Sky and Minecraft? If Hello Games follows the Minecraft route, then No Man’s Sky could become one of the most popular games of all time. As long as they do not mess things up.

This is a franchise that deserves a new release.
I can’t look at this picture and not hum the Katamari theme.

Another game that got a major update well after its release is I Love Katamari, released in 2008 for the iPhone App store. Never heard of it? That is okay, because it kind of got crapped on in the reviews. IGN gave it a 4.5 out of 10 in their review when the game was released. Do not try to go looking for it either, as it has been taken off the iPhone app store as of 2015. While the game was pretty much the same as its predecessors, the game took advantage of the iPhone’s touchscreen and gyroscope for motion controls. However, this was back during the very first generation of iPhone, so the technology was found lacking and the game was criticized for these reasons. But then two years later a new version of the iPhone was released, with improved technology, and an update came out that made I Love Katamari actually fun and playable. Some reviewers even went back to their original review and changed the score based upon this update. Should the same thing happen with No Man’s Sky?

So, there you have it, dear readers, a couple examples of games that improved greatly after release. This author has a few questions for you: have you tried the new update for No Man’s Sky? Should reviewers look at the game again after this update and re-review it, or just solely on its original release? What other games have improved like this thanks to updates? Do you even care? (Spoiler Alert: Lusipurr is going to comment that he does not care in the slightest!)


  1. Bup is BACK.

    I am in favor of giving the game another chance. I passed on No Man’s Sky myself when it was released, as it seemed too open-ended for me. It is nice that the developers have addressed some of the complaints, and if the update adds to the enjoyment of the game, I think the review scores should reflect that.

  2. This is very much a person-by-person case, but for me the answer is yes. I already own it, anyway, and I enjoyed it well enough before they started adding a bunch of things into the game, and those things should only improve my estimation unless they lose their minds and do a Star Wars Galaxies on it.

    Analogously, we gave FFXIV another chance and that game eventually came good. And I really didn’t have much fun at all with its first iteration, so NMS at least has that going for it.

  3. If NMS materially improves, yes, it should be given another chance. It’s foolish to say that because they made a bad decision to release the game as-is they should be eternally punished for it. This is how we grow, people. We make mistakes, we do better, and people move on.

    That said, I think people need to adjust their expectations as to what NMS could feasibly accomplish. What they want, and what a game can technologically deliver, are drastically different. Space-Minecraft is within reason. Endless-Skyrim-in-Space is not.

  4. Space-Minecraft is within reason. Endless-Skyrim-in-Space is not.
    This exactly. There are still people out there who believe, for reasons known only to God, that this game is going to deliver things which the developers have said, over and over again, that NMS will not do. Never underestimate the stupidity of enthusiasts on the internet.

  5. As somebody that closely followed all of the NMS coverage up until its release, I never understood a lot of the hate it got after launch (although Lane summed it up quite well). The base game was, more or less, exactly what I had been expecting based on all the pre-release hype I had read. Like Lusipurr, I enjoyed my time with the game (about 10 hours) before Hello Games added a bunch of new features and it seems like the new things do add a good amount to the game.

    Lastly, I do think games that get massive updates should have their reviews updated. Updates with simple bug fixes shouldn’t trigger a review to be updated, but updates that add new features or fix game-breaking/review-altering bugs should result in the review being updated in some form.

  6. Lastly, I do think games that get massive updates should have their reviews updated.

    Here’s where I differ and for pragmatic, rather than idealistic reasons (how about that for a nice change).

    The simple reality is that in the current environment, too many developers release game-changing patches with regularity. Going back and updating reviews to take these patches/updates into account would be a very onerous task and an impractical one in all likelihood. Moreover, after the launch period the sales decrease so that the necessity of a review long after the launch is much diminished. The upshot of all of this is that the benefit afforded to a decreasing number of consumers doesn’t really measure up to the difficulty of tracking patches and updating reviews.

    Should this be the case? No way. Developers should release a finished product. Then this wouldn’t be necessary. But luckily, the pragmatic view I’m taking provides a corrective! Because the reviews are *not* updated, developers have an added incentive to get the game right *before* launch. The reviews are final, and so the hurt is permanent if they ship something that isn’t ready.

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