No Man's Sky Multiplayer Controversy

Credit: Hello Games
No Man's Sky Multiplayer Controversy

No Man's Sky, the recently released space exploration game for the Playstation 4 and PC, has received scathing criticism generating controversy surrounding it's multiplayer feature and performance issues.


Following a series of  suggested evidence surfacing online, it would seem that No Man's Sky will no longer be supporting a Multiplayer function despite advertisements and developer interviews implying that it would.

Gamers have taken to various social media sites to express their disappointment following the release of No Man's Sky after discovering that there doesn't actually seem to be any Multiplayer aspects to the title except discovery logs. This has understandably gotten fans of the title and those who pre-ordered it rather upset, as Hello Games representative Sean Murray has repeatedly stated that you would indeed be able to meet other players' avatars in game.

 "You can see other characters and they can see you."

In an interview with VGX Murray manages to side step an impressive number of Multiplayer questions, always referring back to the scale and scope of the game as opposed to addressing the questions directly. When asked whether there will be any player vs player space combat Murray simply replies; "There is combat on the planets, there is combat in space. But like I was trying to say it's a real world."

When pushed for answers on whether or not players will be isolated within their own experiences or have the ability to band together Murray insinuates there is a shared universe with players that maintains a persistence. However, players report that no such feature is present in the game following an attempted intergalactic rendezvous between two streamers of the game.

Credit: Hello Games
In a further interview with Game Informer, Murray is explicitly asked 'Will you be able to play with your friends, will there be a competitive element to the game and will you be able to grief other players?' to which he replies a resounding "Yes" to all three. He also states "You can see other characters and they can see you."

In an even more obvious admission of the intended presence of other players in an avatar form Murray answers Stephen Colbert of The Late Show's question of can you run into other people, other players on the game?

"Yes. But the chances of that are incredibly rare because of the size of what we're building" - Sean Murray (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)

In fairness maybe it is true, that with a widely popular release, server issues may have been causing players to not be able to find each other on the same planets in the same location. It may also be the case that players unable to find each other are in fact located in different instances of the same universe hosted in different server spaces to each other, causing confusion about the availability of a Multiplayer function.

Credit: Hello Games

Fairness aside, Murray does appear to be backtracking on his claims on what No Man's Sky is actually capable of. Taking to Twitter Murray explained No Man's Sky is not a multiplayer game and then going on to tweet about how players actually can meet in person within the game, going as far as to suggest a player scan to the game in the future.
One final piece of somewhat shady material is the reports from players of the Playstation 4 version of No Man's Sky that the multiplayer functionality icon on the back of the jewel case is covered by a PEGI rating sticker.

This seems to be the most bizarre and suspicious instance of a suggested backtracking on the multiplayer aspect as it seems the feature may have been dropped or postponed following the manufacturing of the game discs and shortly before release. However at this point it is not possible to verify whether this is a systematic attempt to obscure all game cases presenting the multiplayer icon or whether this was just a coincidental sticker placement. The full details can be viewed in this Euro Gamer article.

Credit: Hello Games

Ultimately there is no concrete way of knowing whether No Man's Sky truly has no real world presence multiplayer, the sheer scope and scale of the playable area is so large that as Murray said the chance to see another play is slim. The concept that players are having difficulties finding each other because they are appearing in separate instances running on separate servers is not outlandish.

But there is definitely the possibility that one small independent team with stars in their eyes realized just what their game was and wasn't capable of, a little too late. For now No Man's Sky has a schrodinger's Multiplayer and we don't really know much more than that.

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