Working on a massive blockbuster game is incredibly stressful, hard work. It takes years to create a video game, and there’s no way of knowing if it will be a hit.
The situation gets far more stressful when you’re a small indie studio — think: under 12 people — and you’re working on a marquee PlayStation 4 exclusive game. Such is the case with “No Man’s Sky” developer Hello Games, a small studio based out of England that’s creating a massive video game.
Fervor over “No Man’s Sky” has gotten so intense that one very dedicated fan bought a copy of the game one week ahead of release for a whopping $1,300!
The stress of creating “No Man’s Sky” is especially evident in the case of Sean Murray, Hello Game studio leader and creative lead on the game. He penned the heartfelt letter you see below for inclusion with review copies of the game sent to press:
Like so many other game developers before him, Murray directly ties his childhood to the masterpiece he and his team just finished.
Notoriously, classics like “The Legend of Zelda” were directly based on the childhood adventures of creator Shigeru Miyamoto (he’s like the Walt Disney of video games, having created Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and many other mega-hits).
Once the stress of finishing the game on deadline passes, the stress of sending that game to reviewers is a fresh hell to deal with. Look no further than the opening line of Murray’s letter for confirmation of that: “I feel sick writing this.”
Here’s the full letter from Sean Murray, care of GameSpot senior video producer Edmond Tran:
“I feel sick writing this.
You are about to play ‘No Man’s Sky’ and I don’t know what you’ll think.
I know I’m proud of it. I’m incredibly proud of the tiny team that is making a game at a scale that’s never been done before. At time I can squint my eyes and see that we’re generating entire planets, solar systems, galaxies on a PS4, and see that maybe that could be a part of how games are made in the future.
At time I can let myself feel proud that our indie game is going to be in shops. That we have a media kit! That you are even taking the time to play our game, when our previous titles might not have.
I know I’ve watched playtesters get totally consumed in our universe…but I’ve also seen people feel lost. I’ve seen kids weaned on ‘Minecraft’ lose themselves, and I’ve seen some others feel lost. I don’t know how you’ll feel. I don’t know if we can ever live up to the hype we’ve generated, sometimes knowingly, often not.
I know my strongest memory growing up in the outback of Australia, seeing the stars at night, and feeling overwhelmed. Reading sci-fi and wishing I could escape into those worlds. If for one small moment I can make some people feel that they have stepped through a science fiction book cover, or to think briefly about the size of our universe…then I’ll be happy with that.
Thank you so much for taking the time to play. I appreciate it. Hope you enjoy.
“No Man’s Sky” launches on PlayStation 4 on August 9, and on PC on August 12. Hopefully Murray will get a vacation after that.