Sony's Shuhei Yoshida on No Man's Sky
"It wasn't a great PR strategy…"
Shuhei Yoshida, the popular president of Sony's Worldwide Studios, has said he understands why some fans were critical of controversial space survival sim No Man's Sky - and blamed Hello Games' pre-release PR strategy for building up unrealistic expectations.
Disgruntled gamers complained about the absence of features and functionality in the final release that development chief Sean Murray had previously referred to in interviews and previews, ranging from multiplayer mechanics to the complexity of its combat and trading systems.
Speaking to Eurogamer at the Tokyo Game Show, Shuhei Yoshida said: "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."
Yoshida said that personally, he "really enjoyed" playing No Man's Sky but could appreciate why others might not feel the same way.
"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."
As Sony told Eurogamer when we reported on concern around No Man's Sky's reported use of a patented superfomula, Hello Games was the developer of the game and the publisher of the PlayStation 4 digital and PC versions. But Sony was the publisher and distributor of the Blu-ray disc version of the game, so perhaps it shares some of the responsibility.
Some disgruntled No Man's Sky players have turned to Sony for refunds. Eurogamer reported on the refund situation with No Man's Sky last month, but since then more customers have contacted us to say Sony has denied them a refund, alongside what looks like a generic statement staff have been instructed to relay to customers.
Here's the statement, which three No Man's Sky players have sent to Eurogamer. It outlines Sony's current position on the state of the game and its development process.
Yoshida was bullish when asked if he thought the experience had harmed the PlayStation brand at all.
"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."