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It comes to no surprise that No Man’s Sky lacked a coherent PR strategy. Sony continued to put Hello Games’ Sean Murray on stages and in interviews and he continued to do what passionate developers always do, talk mad game. When No Man’s Sky finally released, many people were disappointed in the results. The game had lots of promise but didn’t really fill the universal expanse it created.
So when Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, talked with Eurogamer during TGS it wasn’t surprising when he admitted the PR lacked focus. Yoshida elaborated saying:
“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.”
Yoshida isn’t wrong, Murray made his bed and now has to lie in it. However, for a publisher to lampoon a small developer like this is a little embarrassing. Sony could have easily handled PR for major interviews for Murray, they could have given him media training, they even could have assisted in the game’s development to ensure the product was what Hello Games was promising. Yoshida did beam about the finished game, and how much he enjoyed it, so at the very least it wasn’t all doom and gloom.
You can’t take away too much from Yoshida’s comments, but for a president to speak to glibly and off the cuff about Hello Games’ lack of PR strategy is a little uncouth. I respect Yoshida a great deal, but perhaps he should have chosen his words a little more carefully.