For better or worse, Hello Games' star-spanning sci-fi adventure No Man's Sky was one of the most talked about titles of 2016. The highly anticipated game divided opinion when it finally hit shelves after years of feverish marketing, with players and critics unsure what to make of the intergalactic survival effort.
Some adored the dazzling retro-futurism on offer, losing themselves in the zen-inducing universe Hello Games had created, and buying into its unbridled potential. Others felt aggrieved, and suggested they'd been conned into forking out $50 for a title that wasn't even close to being the finished product they were promised.
That side of the community hit back hard, lambasting Hello Games and its co-founder Sean Murray -- who'd been the public face of the studio -- anyway they could. Now, after some game-changing updates (including the upcoming 'NEXT' update), Murray has finally opened up about that rocky launch in a wide-ranging interview with The Guardian, and it's an eye-opening read.
"We didn't talk about it, but it was as bad as things can get, basically. There's a smorgasbord of things that the angry mob can do. It is a crowdsourced thing of how bad you can make someone's life," said Murray, revealing he was forced to deal with police forces around the UK to combat the "serious" situation the team was faced with.
"I remember getting a death threat about the fact that there were butterflies in our original trailer, and you could see them as you walked past them, but there weren't any butterflies in the launch game. I remember thinking to myself: 'Maybe when you’re sending a death threat about butterflies in a game, you might be the bad guy.'"
Speaking candidly, Murray explained he wasn't sure how to deal with the human cost of the backlash, which is why the team simply hunkered down and focused on building updates.
"We did something that I think I've always done, when I look back at my life," he added. "When I've dealt with shitty situations when I was kid, moving between lots of schools, or when I've had shitty bosses later in life... I basically just get my head down, and I work, and I avoid. I just focus on making games, making cool creative things, and that’s an outlet for me. I think the team just wanted to do that."
You can hear more from Murray by checking out the full interview over on The Guardian.