Hello Games' No Man's Sky PR strategy is one reason many felt let down by the title, says Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Yoshida said he really enjoyed the game, but understood why many were disappointed by the absence of many features promised by Hello Games managing director Sean Murray leading up to its release.
"I had the opportunity to play the game right before launch – and I restarted playing the game on launch day with the Day One patch – so I could see the struggle for the developers to get the game out in the state that they wanted," said Yoshida.
"I understand some of the criticisms especially Sean Murray is getting, because he sounded like he was promising more features in the game from day one.
"It wasn't a great PR strategy, because he didn't have a PR person helping him, and in the end he is an indie developer. But he says their plan is to continue to develop No Man's Sky features and such, and I'm looking forward to continuing to play the game."
No Man's Sky has not harmed the PlayStation brand, Yoshida added.
"I am super happy with the game actually, and I'm amazed with the sales the game has gotten, so I'm not the right person to judge if it has 'harmed' the PlayStation brand. I personally don't think so. If anything, I am proud that people can play No Man's Sky on PS4 as well as PC."
Hello Games published the digital versions of No Man's Sky, but Sony was the publisher and distributor of the game's Blu-ray disc version.
Some players have approached Sony directly for refunds, and Sony's reply thus far has been the following:
We are aware of comments online from some players expressing disappointment with the release features of No Man’s Sky. During the development process, the game changed and evolved based on thousands of hours of user testing and feedback on what worked and what didn’t to bring you the best gameplay experience and the most fun.
Hello Games made choices during this development which they believed would provide the best experience for the players. No Man’s Sky was intended to be something unique, vast and inventive, and we feel Hello Games delivered that. They are also working to ensure that No Man’s Sky will continue to evolve and benefit from new features over the coming months, and as such, we are not making any exceptions to our standard refund policy.
In his review, Gameplanet's Ben Allan largely ignored Hello Games' pre-release promises in favour of reviewing what was actually delivered. He criticised "undeveloped or poorly implemented" gameplay systems, "long stretches of sameiness," and "serious stability issues," but praised the relative success of the game's visual style, procedural design, and exploration.