The President of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, Shawn Layden, has talked about the lessons learned from the No Man’s Sky controversy.
Speaking to Geoff Keighley on Live With Youtube Gaming, Layden praised the vision of Hello Games, continuing that the developer is still working hard to bring the game where they wanted it to be.
“I think Hello Games, Sean Murray and his team, had an incredible vision on what they were going to create. Something never done before,” he said. “And a very small team had a very huge ambition. Now, they’re still working at it. They’re still updating it. They’re trying to get it closer to what their vision was. I played a lot when it came out.”
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No Man’s Sky received negative criticism from its audience post-release for not delivering an array of features that some players expected would feature in the game. Hello Games founder Sean Murray came under particularly heavy fire for his role in the game’s pre-launch PR campaign.
According to Layden, the lessons learned from this experience might not be what you’d expect.
“I think what we learned from that is that we don’t wanna stifle ambition,” he said. “We don’t wanna stifle creativity. We don’t wanna put people into slots where they must execute against an action adventure path or a fighting path or a shooting path.”
The cross-genre aspect of No Man’s Sky, which allowed players to fly through space as well as traverse planets in first person, earned the title praise, as did its procedurally generated universe. The concept was hugely ambitious, and in spite of the problems experienced post-release, it seems that Sony wants to encourage such creativity elsewhere.
Layden goes on to offer an explanation of how expectation, and reality, ended up in such different positions in the case of No Man’s Sky.
“Nobody in development wants to say that they can’t do a thing, right?” he said. “No one wants to tell someone ‘No I can’t do that for you’. People are really trying.
“I think looking at the different industries in which I had the privilege of working, the gaming industry is where everybody has the courage to say ‘yes’. And they want to try to realise their ambitions. They want to try to make that vision. No one slinks away from a huge challenge. And some times you just don’t get all the way there at the first go.”
You can watch the full interview below.
No Man’s Sky is now suffering “overwhelmingly negative” reviews on Steam, and is currently subject to an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK.
Sony may want to encourage more creativity, but it’s also possible that closer monitoring of external communications, especially with regard to unreleased games, will be implemented going forward.