One year ago, one of the most overly-hyped releases in gaming was finally made available to the public. Hello Games’ title No Man’s Sky was first teased in 2013, and the game gained an insane level of traction. The game promised an infinite universe that was randomly generated from the ground up. Each planet would provide new vistas, wildlife, fauna, and challenges. The promises were enticing, but for many were hard to believe.We were promised something epic, but what we got was something that looked much more like this:
I was one of the people on board No Man’s Sky’s hype train. I love sci-fi and exploration, so this game was right up my alley. There were so many undelivered promises made about this game, it’s impossible to count. Before release, gamers were promised that they would be able to play alongside their friends in the galaxy, and make a mark on each world. What we got was something completely under-cooked, and those features were nowhere to be found. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, and like most gamers who picked it up, I put it away to never play it again.
This week though, something very interesting has happened. One year after the release, Hello Games has just announced an all new update for the game entitled Atlas Rising.
In case you didn’t watch the video for the Atlas Rising update, some of the highlights include: 30 hours of narrative content, a new species of aliens, graphical overhauls, new planetary biomes, system wealth and conflict levels, trading and farming updates, portals that allow quick travel, upgraded space combat, low altitude flight improvements and most importantly they’ve added multiplayer functions. If this excites you, you aren’t alone. No Man’s Sky is finally looking like the game we were promised for the past 4 years. But this brings up an excellent question.
Why did it take an entire year post-release to make this game live up to expectations?
It’s painfully obvious that No Man’s Sky was rushed to meet a posted release date, and had they waited one more year to release it, it’s clear that the game would be much closer to what was expected. The development was rushed, and the game suffered. Because of this, No Man’s Sky was demolished in reivews. IGN’s Dan Stapleton states in his review:
Its gameplay is underdeveloped and repetitive, and in my dozens of hours played it’s introduced very few new ideas to mix up its crafting, upgrades, combat, or universe.
Honestly, that’s one of the nicer ways I’ve heard No Man’s Sky’s gameplay described. It was repetitive and lacked any depth, which is finally being addressed an entire year later. While I’m also not one to believe that this update will save No Man’s Sky from all of its pitfalls, this update makes it look much closer to something I would like to play. Before you think I’m just here to pick on No Man’s Sky, don’t worry because it’s not the only offender.
Earlier this year, Mass Effect: Andromeda was released after years of being hyped. Mass Effect is one of Bioware’s biggest franchises, and people were expecting something truly great. I personally enjoyed Mass Effect: Andromeda for what it was, but it’s impossible to argue that the game wasn’t rushed and it was not treated with the same love and care as the predecessors in the franchise. Andromeda was released using absolutely inexcusable animations. As a massive Mass Effect fan, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I have described Mass Effect: Andromeda as my favorite AA game released by a AAA studio.
But much like No Man’s Sky, Mass Effect: Andromeda has benefited from a multitude of post-release patches. In fact, here’s an example of improvements made to the game:
So it’s obvious that someone who picked up Mass Effect: Andromeda or No Man’s Sky today would enjoy it so much more than people who played those games in the state they were in on release day. So I guess that’s my big question.
For gamers, is it even worth is to buy games in the state that they’re currently being released? Or are Day One buys a complete mistake?
As it stands, I would argue that it’s absolutely a mistake in most cases. The gaming industry utilizes practices that would absolutely not fly in any other medium of entertainment. Could you paying money to see a film in a theater that was released missing key components and scenes, when you knew you could just wait until you could get the full package on the home release 6 months later?
That practice is completely unacceptable. Even if the game released mechanically sound, gamers are already accustomed to purchasing a game at release, and then being expected to fork over even more money for new content every few months. After gamers have spent well over $100 on a single game, a Game of the Year Edition including all of the content is released one year later at an incredibly convenient price between $40-$60. So if you can wait an extra few months for a much better experience, why don’t you?
That’s not to say that you would even have to apply this practice on every gaming purchase, because I’ve been just as guilty of Day One purchases. But at the very least, gamers should do their due diligence on the reviews of a game and how much developers expect you to pay to have all of the content. There are quite a few games that I absolutely don’t regret making Day One purchases for, including last year’s Uncharted 4.
It’s a nuanced conversation, but I think its an important one for the gaming community. There are quite a few gamers that blindly throw their money at the next big thing due to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) without practicing any due diligence whatsoever. I have found that patience usually pays off when it comes to buying games, even for games that are deserving of a day-one purchase.
So what do you guys think? Are you on board with pre-ordering games and day-one purchases, or are you more on the side of practicing patience and seeing if a better deal comes down the road? Let us know in the comments!