The Delay of No Man’s Sky, or, the Futility of Anger

Image by Flickr user John McCarthy (CC)
Image by Flickr user John McCarthy (CC)

Recently, we took a trip to a local store to buy a new refrigerator.  After reviewing each fridge that the store had in stock, we made our choice. Upon seeing our selection, the salesperson that was with us heartily cried, “Excellent! I believe we have that one in stock and can deliver it to you in just a couple days!” We were overjoyed! And we started to make all sort of plans around this new appliance that would soon be in our house

Once the salesperson was ready, we hovered around the checkout station, eagerly going through all the necessary electronic forms. Only then, the salesperson frowned.

“Oh dear,” came the dejected tone, “it looks like this particular refrigerator is actually on backorder. It’ll be available in two weeks.”

Our response came quickly.

“HOW DARE THIS THING THAT WE NEED NOT BE AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY AS YOU SAID IT MIGHT BE!??! WE WILL LAY SIEGE UPON THIS FACILITY AND BESMIRCH ITS GOOD NAME ACROSS THE WORLD WIDE WEB!!”

Um…no. That’s not what happened. Instead we simply responded, “Okay. We’ll take it in two weeks.”


I realize this may not be the best analogy, but if you’ve read the recent news about the delay of No Man’s Sky and the subsequently hurling of death threats at its developer, Hello Games, then maybe you can see where I was going with my example.

Like plenty of other folks, I’ve been looking forward to No Man’s Sky since its initial announcement. I can’t say that my interest is as strong as some, but I definitely think it’s going to be a special game. Ever since the game got a “solid” release date of June 21st, the question here has been to pre-order or not to pre-order. And just when we thought we had made a choice to pre-order, news of the delay hit. August, now? Ah well,we’ll just wait a bit longer on the pre-order.

It seemed some people out there didn’t take the news so lightly. Some individuals took to the Internet to send lots of angry words to Hello Games and folks in the media. Because boy oh boy, they were mad as heck, and they weren’t going to take it anymore! Oh, to be so incredible angry…over a six (or so) week delay?

Of a video game?

But then again, what’s couple of death threats from a few random yahoos? We live in an age where it’s become commonplace for people in the industry to receive instant hate from all corners of digital life. It’s just the way things are. People in the game industry simply have to put on their adult pants and deal with it – becoming hardened and jaded to the Internet trolls and mean people, right?

Nope. Not right. Not right at all. We know this. Everyone knows this. But the Internet provides us with a free speech platform and access to people who, in the past, would have been otherwise shut away from the public. (Back then, we had to write hate mail! And by the time you found pen and paper, you usually weren’t angry anymore.) It’s extremely easy to be angry, type angry things, and angrily hit send without a second angry thought.

Maybe a getting a second hobby might help?

But look, it’s been years already for No Man’s Sky. People have been waiting. If the developers weren’t ready to release the game, then they shouldn’t have announced an actual release day until they were positive the game was going to be ready.  :: hissy fit ensues ::

That’s true. There are plenty of games that have been and are in development purgatory. And many that will forever remain pie-in-the-sky fantasies. But human beings sometimes forget that games are made by other human beings. And these human beings have to do other human things besides make games. Can you imagine what the gaming landscape would look like if our games were churned out like they make cars or phones? Oh wait…

…there have been times when games were made practically on an assembly line! And what did we end up with? The likes of E. T. and Superman 64 and Busby 3D. Sure, mediocrity still abounds in the game industry (as it does in any industry), but would you want to like in a world where a game like No Man’s Sky could never exist simply because of the middling way the assembly line functioned?

I didn’t think so.

I’m looking forward to No Man’s Sky whenever it’s released, be it August or December or 2018 (though I might forget about it by then). Because I want to developers to release the game they believe represents the best of that which they can achieve. In the meantime, I’ll be playing other games, doing fun human stuff, and waiting for a refrigerator.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Dang, getting mad about the refrigerator thing would’ve been WAY more reasonable than about a fricking *video game,* so even more kudos for being calm there. Anger is only good when it is righteous, and video games are not a righteous cause. Good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Thanks! And you’re right, there’s a time and a place for being legitimately angry – this is truly is not one of them.

      P.S. Maybe we were a little bent up about the fridge, but it was too perfect and too on sale to turn down. 😀

      Like

  2. simpleek says:

    It always sucks when an announcement comes in about a delay in a game’s release. However, stuff happens and you simply have to wait a little longer. It’s not as bad as say a game being flat out cancelled and it’s never going to happen at all. I want a great and fully completed game than a bad and half-assed made game. I’m sure if the game had come out as in intended, then gamers would still be upset about the game sucking. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, am I right? You can’t make everyone happy, but people going as far as sending death threats over a delayed game is absolutely ridiculous and infantile. No wonder I’m terrified about the fate of humanity sometimes when people act like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Agreed. And the fact that people believe that this is the way life is and game developers should just suck it up is even worse. Granted, life isn’t a bowl of cherries, but it can be close to that if the unreasonably angry people just take a moment to think about their actions before acting. A game delay doesn’t signal the end of the world, and it never will.

      Granted, the industry has it’s share of shady characters, as does any industry, but it certainly doesn’t seem like Hello Games is among them. They’ve been very up front about No Man’s Sky from the beginning. It’s a complex game surrounded by lots of hype, so of course they want the finished product to be as close to perfect as possible. I don’t envy the pressure that they are surely under.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hatm0nster says:

    I’m often amazed by the unfortunate fact that these types of reactions have become more and more commonplace for increasingly mundane events and common practices. I mean, a dude over at Kotaku got death threats against themselves and their family for simply reporting on the possibility of the game getting delayed! How messed up is that?! Not to mention that game delays are as old as video games themselves. These things are standard practice, and have been for a very long time, so who is it that’s getting surprised enough to even be angry about it anymore?

    I agree with you that this sort of behavior is absolutely unacceptable. There’s no call for it. People have every right to get upset about whatever they want, but one really should stop and think about what it is that they’re getting upset about before deciding to make another person’s life harder. Even if digital words from a stranger don’t hurt you in the traditional sense, they can still be pretty scary. Threats of any kind are always scary.

    …okay, rant is over I guess. Congrats on the new fridge! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Haha, thanks! We’ve been redoing the kitchen, and the new fridge is going to look great!

      I read that about the reporter — it’s almost sickening. It’s one thing to write a mean comment because you’re angry about a situation, but it’s another thing completely to threaten someone’s life over simply reporting a news story. It’s baffling. And as you say, threats of any kind are dangerous — when someone breaks that personal boundary, even if over the Internet, it’s never to be taken lightly.

      It really makes you wonder if what would drive someone to be so outlandish. I bet there’s some form of “fame” to it, because people usually share them with everyone, username and all (sometimes), so sadly, I bet there are some people who get a kick out of that. It’s a sad, scary world, sometimes. All the better when we find good online communities to share with and support. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. duckofindeed says:

    One thing people don’t seem to realize is that a delayed release date can often mean a better product. Just look at what happened with the infamous Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, cited as one of the worst games of all time because it was rushed to be released around Christmas time. If they had just delayed the release, it could have been a decent game.

    On the other hand, I had been super excited for the Ratchet and Clank movie, and one day, I found out it was being delayed by about a year, if I remember correctly. Sure, I was disappointed, but at the same time, I was strangely happy. I really wanted this movie to be good, and I was willing to wait as long as it took to get the best results. Finally, the movie was released, and it was amazing. I can only imagine what that extra year must have done to make the movie better than it would have been otherwise. Time is our friend. Rarely do we get anything good if it’s rushed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      That’s a great point! “The best things come to those who wait” is so true. People know this, and it would be a lovely thing is more people believed in it. Nothing good is to be gained in a hurry. I actually didn’t realize that the Ratchet and Clank movie had been delayed for that long! Glad that you enjoyed it — I’ve heard good things about and hope to see it as well.

      As for our games, it’s unfortunate that more often than not game studios have tended to rush their products to market — we see the same mediocre titles over and over, and it’s been happening for years! However, it’s not always the best thing when they announce a game that’s years from being released, or just seems to end up in purgatory (ahem, Kingdom Hearts III). I guess it’s a tough balance to maintain because companies need money to make games, so they need people to buy their games to make money. Still, if we have to wait a bit longer for the *really* great games, that’s okay, because those are the ones worth buying and keeping!

      Like

      1. duckofindeed says:

        KH3 was the very same example I was thinking of when it comes to games that take too long to be released. I recently was thinking to myself, what the heck have they been doing all this time, and then it occurred to me, they’ve been making the FF13 trilogy and a zillion pointless KH spin-offs. Nice use of your time, Square (extreme sarcasm here).

        Liked by 1 person

  5. cary says:

    Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    We’re now just under a month away from the official (maybe?) release what has been promised as one of the biggest (literally?) games of the year: No Man’s Sky. Or, at least it was insanely hyped until it was delayed from June to now August. And when new of the delay came, oh how the Internet of People reacted. and reacted, in some cases, poorly. In this post for United We Game, I mused over the video game delays and our sometime knee-jerk (or just jerky) reactions to them.

    Like

  6. renxkyoko says:

    Whoa ! Death threats ? That’s unacceptable behavior. But I’m sure developers are used to that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Yeah, I’m sure you’re right. But it’s terrible that actions like this have become so commonplace. The gaming industry requires thick skin, I guess.

      Like

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