Matchbox Twenty has a song titled “How Far We’ve Come” and it would be quite fitting for the developers at Hello Games. The studio that is developing the upcoming sci-fi space exploration game No Man’s Sky has seen their project go from an unknown to one of the most anticipated games of this year and generation.
No Man’s Sky is slated to launch this coming June 21 for the PS4 and PC, and expectations are high for the title. Major expectations isn’t something you could’ve associated with the game when it was first announced back in December 2013.
“No, no definitely not (laughs) What kind of person would? We were super nervous about that. We were originally talking to Geoff Keighley, who was putting together the VGAs, and he knew we were working on something, but he had no idea what it was. He contacted us. He actually happened to come by our studio had been to Media Molecule and we’re near to them, so he called in on his way passed,” Hello Games’ Sean Murray told IGN.
In what seemed to be described as a passing visit, it all of a sudden became a visit of destiny for the tiny indie studio that at the time had four people working on No Man’s Sky. Murray spoke about what their office looked like when Keighley came to visit.
“Nobody had been to our office and we had done this really weird thing of boxing off one room and we covered it in sci-fi book covers that were all over the wall. Everyone else was still working on Joe Danger and we had gone into this little room to work on something in secret and we had literally boxed off walls so no one could get in. Geoff saw that and was like, ‘what are you guys doing in here?’ I think because we were so shifty and suspicious about it that he thought ‘they must be doing something amazing’ (laughs),” Murray said.
It would be hard for any person not to want to ask what was behind the suspicious activity, particularly for a man like Geoff, who was organizing his yearly game awards show. He couldn’t resist and ended up offering the studio a spot on the VGXs (as it was named in 2013), assuming they could cut a trailer together.
“All of the visuals that were on the walls were so different from Joe Danger, so he’s like ‘I don’t know what you guys are doing, but if you can do a good trailer, then we could have you on the VGAs.’ We were [excited] and had to bring together this trailer.
“We put it together and sent it to him and then started showing friends and I asked them one question at the end. I said, ‘it’s just a 90 second trailer, I’m going to give you no context, I’m going to show you this thing. What do you think? Should this game be on the VGAs? Is this game ready to announce or whatever?'” Murray said.
While it might not seem like it was a big deal because you know what the reaction was like after the game was shown off, this was a very nerve-racking time. Hello Games had put their new project out there, and as Murray tells it, feedback wasn’t the most positive.
“Everyone apart from one person said no (laughs). So I contacted Geoff and I was like ‘can we pull the trailer?’ At that stage, he had kind of already fought to get us a place and a slot and was like ‘I think it’s alright. I think you guys should show it.’ I remember the discussion was that we felt that we didn’t even know what kind of reaction we were going to get,” Murray said.
No Man’s Sky itself is just a different, very unique project, and is really hard to compare it to anything we’ve ever seen before. With no real reference point of how the game could end up turning out, odds are there wasn’t much of anything they could show that would’ve gained people’s approval, like they seem to have in spades now.
“At the start of the trailer, it used to say ‘from the people who brought you Joe Danger,’ but then that just seemed so weird with the game that it was so then we were like ‘let’s just take it off. Let’s not associate Hello Games with this thing because we don’t know how this is going to go (laughs).’ I thought that I was heading into some sort of, not disaster, but [I thought] this may not go well.
“There was part of me that was like, ‘maybe everyone is wrong and it’ll go [well]’ because you look at it and you’re kind of proud of what you’re doing, and you’re like, ‘this is cool,’ but we had no idea. We certainly weren’t thinking, ‘this is going to be huge’ or anything like that,” Murray said.
The rest is history and No Man’s Sky is slated to launch for the PS4 and PC this coming June 21. It’s arguably one of the most anticipated games of the year, and it will have been two and a half years since the game was first revealed, a wait, hopefully, well worth it.