Ori director calls Cyberpunk 2077, No Man's Sky creators "snake oil salesmen"

midian182

Posts: 6,898   +62
Staff member
Editor's take: Mahler makes plenty of good points. Hyping a product is expected but telling outright lies so more people purchase before release is unethical at best, potentially illegal at worst. Consumers have been warned not to pre-order games for decades, yet it still happens and will doubtlessly continue.

Game designers who make big promises about upcoming titles only for consumers to be disappointed upon their release is something we're used to seeing. Thomas Mahler, Moon Studios founder and director of the Ori series, is sick of it and has branded those guilty of such action, including the makers of Cyberpunk 2077 and No Man's Sky, "snake oil salesmen."

In a post on ResetEra titled "Why are gamers so eager to trust and even forgive the snake oil salesmen?" Mahler writes that the practice began with British game designer Peter Molyneux, the man behind the Fable and Black & White series.

"He was the master of 'Instead of telling you what my product is, let me just go wild with what I think it could be and get you all excited!" - And that was fine, until you actually put your money down and then the game was nothing like what Peter was hyping it up to be."

Mahler goes on to single out Sean Murray, founder of No Man's Sky creator Hello Games. Murray hyped NMS so much before release that the studio received death threats when it was delayed by around six weeks. But that excitement turned into disappointment after the game arrived with missing features, bugs, and other issues. The discrepancy between what we were promised and what we got led to an investigation by the UK's advertising standards agency and Valve requiring actual in-game screenshots for Steam listings.

Following years of patches and new content, No Man's Sky is now close to the game Murray initially promised, helping the game win several awards—something Mahler takes issues with.

"They [Hello Games] released a bunch of updates, so let's forget about the initial lies and deception and hey, let's actually shower him with awards again, cause he finally kinda sorta delivered on what he said the game would be years earlier. Thanks, Geoff Keighley. Rewarding that kinda behavior will surely help the industry grow stronger."

Mahler saves most of his vitriol for Cyberpunk 2077. The issues experienced by CD Projekt Red's RPG are well documented. The company has since released an apology video, claiming CDPR's testing didn't show many of the problems encountered by players. It also denied the famous E3 demo was "almost entirely fake."

"Here the entire CDPR PR department took all the cues from what worked for Molyneux and Murray and just went completely apeshit with it," writes Mahler. "Every video released by CDPR was carefully crafted to create a picture in players minds that was just insanely compelling. They stopped just short of outright saying that this thing would cure cancer. This strategy resulted in a sensational 8 million pre-orders."

Permalink to story.

 

winjer

Posts: 155   +582
There is no regulation when it comes to games. Devs and pubs can do what they want. It's not their fault though. It's ours.

Although, we as costumers hove some responsibility by buying these unfinished games, and supporting such practices. The main of the fault still resides with these companies.
It's these companies that over-promise and under-deliver. It's these companies that manage the development of games. It's these companies that choose to release unfinished games. And it's these companies that set unrealistic release dates.
 

Kosmoz

Posts: 254   +457
I will never understand this pre-order thing for games... it's not like there are a finite amount of copies (especially in this era of digital sales), not like a piece of real thing that can deplete, run out off or discontinue... so the fools are all those that pre-ordered and are still going to do that again in the future.

And I don't want to hear about getting some (cosmetic) items in that game if you pre-order, that is even more stupid, if that's the reason. You can get those later with some "mods", for free, or if you buy the GOTY edition, etc.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 691   +1,226
He's not wrong. The issue here, is this tendency of media and companies focusing on 2 "Independent" games, that is dev studios without the direct support of one of the big boy publishers: EA, Activision, Ubisoft. As in you might know Bioware as a part of EA, Treyark as a part of Activision, etc.

The reality is that you probably cannot name a single AAA release that isn't plagued by worst crunch and outright development lies during the years preceding the release. All of them lie, constantly and none face any consequences.

But now they want you to really focus on No man's Sky and Cyberpunk 2077 so you forget all about your Apex, Star Wars Battlefront, etc. Scandals and they get to keep their scheme of basically psychologically torturing a bunch of people to develop these games then be disposed of as literal trash when its time to pay up bonuses or share the profits.
 

BSim500

Posts: 810   +1,802
And I don't want to hear about getting some (cosmetic) items in that game if you pre-order, that is even more stupid, if that's the reason. You can get those later with some "mods", for free, or if you buy the GOTY edition, etc.
The entire reason that cr*p exists (and goes hand in hand with review embargoes) is as a trashy bribe to get gamers into the habit of making a stream of uneducated purchase decisions (pre-ordering) instead of educated ones (waiting for reviews). Even after all this time, it's amazing otherwise supposedly intelligent gamers still haven't figured it out...
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 4,096   +3,253
The entire reason that cr*p exists (and goes hand in hand with review embargoes) is as a trashy bribe to get gamers into the habit of making a stream of uneducated purchase decisions (pre-ordering) instead of educated ones (waiting for reviews). Even after all this time, it's amazing otherwise supposedly intelligent gamers still haven't figured it out...
The only thing in your post I take issue with is "otherwise supposedly intelligent gamers".... Have you ever met anyone of "average" intelligence? Have you noticed how dumb they are? Now remember - half the world is even dumber than they are!!
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,426   +1,570
Although, we as costumers hove some responsibility by buying these unfinished games, and supporting such practices. The main of the fault still resides with these companies.
It's these companies that over-promise and under-deliver. It's these companies that manage the development of games. It's these companies that choose to release unfinished games. And it's these companies that set unrealistic release dates.
And they have NO reason to stop.
 

Tyrchlis

Posts: 155   +114
Hmmm, strange take on it all. I preordered Cyberpunk 2077 and on launch day was playing the game smoothly and with all features turned on. I played just over 200 hours of that game, beating it twice. Well worth it's price, I enjoyed the game completely as is.

Worth noting is that I am one of the rare people with an RTX 3090 in my machine, and therefore was able to render everything the game had at maximum glory, and it was amazing. Even the one game breaking bug that happened with one of the patches never affected me directly due to having been past that part of the game when the patch came out and caused that bug. Also was never harmed by the 8mb savefile size bug either, though was aware of it at the time.

I feel zero need to bash CDPR or sue them. I got my money's worth, exactly as hoped and expected. I'm sorry for those of you who didn't, but I cannot help but feel like most who didn't failed to plan for this game properly. If my 4 year old PC with a 3090 upgrade only could handle this game so gloriously, then I have little mercy for those having problems with more modern machines and this game. Poor part planning and likely a Radeon in that machine... That's what you get.

If Cyberpunk 2077 had been an AMD sponsored title, bet your bottom dollar that I would have secured a 6900XT instead of 3090. It was kinda obvious before launch how this game would go.
 
It seems that maybe instead of criticizing the developers for putting out incomplete products, more attention needs to be paid to why the release dates are obviously not in line with the content. The rush to get out the product seems just as much to blame as what is being promised. If No Man's Sky now looks like what it was intended to ship as years later, then it would seem the result was always there but the deadlines by the producers/public really hampered that. To me the big culprit is a lack of patience and the dollars needed to sustain that, as well as money for larger coding and creative teams. Basically, pay the people doing the work more and hire more of them.
 

Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,771   +1,575
Designers design - and they are excited and happy with that. Programmers try to take these ideas out of the smoke and into quasi-reality. They do that well and poorly - but we notice the "poorly" more. Finally, suits and marketing add their "spin" - promoting and monetizing - the best they know how. They do this in accord with the market as it exists.. and they do that pretty well (most do not go bankrupt in any given year).

Do we need to question why? Obviously, it is due to the fact that we pay them to act this way.

Caveat emptor.
 
He's not exactly wrong. But when you're making a platformer, it's a lot easier to explain it concisely.
The fact of the matter is, it doesn't matter what companies SAY their game is, if you're a responsible adult you shouldn't buy things until you KNOW what it is. We have a whole system in place that allows people to play games for you and warn of any issues.
Use them and stop preordering games.
(This is coming from a person that followed, bought, and enjoyed cyberpunk, but did not pre order it)
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,324   +1,238
TechSpot Elite
I will never understand this pre-order thing for games... it's not like there are a finite amount of copies (especially in this era of digital sales), not like a piece of real thing that can deplete, run out off or discontinue... so the fools are all those that pre-ordered and are still going to do that again in the future
Couldn't agree more. 10 years ago I pre-ordered Dead Island and that really soured me on the practice. I didn't pre-order again until Sim City 5 a few years later and well, you know. Sure both became excellent games in their own right (especially SC5 which BTW I think is now better than Cities Skylines).

Still though I haven't and won't pre-order again.
 
Hmmm, me thinks you doth stroke yourself too much friend. It seems there were hundreds if not thousands of us who were able to play the game smoothly with much less "worthy" graphics cards in our lowly, mid to upper tier systems. That said, there were a huge amount of "non game breaking" bugs that annoyed the $#!& out of us. Me? Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the game and my graphics card played it "gloriously." Hmm, and we didn't even have to do any pre-planning.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 960   +1,399
>ResetEra

One to talk about snake oil salesman.

As for No Man's Sky, the studio behind that has been working hard to redeem the game, far harder than the likes of EA has on Anthem, by point of comparison. One should ask why ResetEra has it in for more independent studios like CDPR and Hello Games but turns a blind eye to EA?
 
It seems that maybe instead of criticizing the developers for putting out incomplete products, more attention needs to be paid to why the release dates are obviously not in line with the content. The rush to get out the product seems just as much to blame as what is being promised. If No Man's Sky now looks like what it was intended to ship as years later, then it would seem the result was always there but the deadlines by the producers/public really hampered that. To me the big culprit is a lack of patience and the dollars needed to sustain that, as well as money for larger coding and creative teams. Basically, pay the people doing the work more and hire more of them.
Same. Admittedly I have a top tier PC with a 9900k/3090 but I just finished Cyberpunk with 80 hours played and loved it. It's my favorite gaming experience of all time. I had 1 crash on the last mission of the game and a handful of bugs throughout my gameplay but nothing game breaking. The map is insanely dense. It may not be the biggest map ever but there's just so much stuff everywhere and the character customization is so in-depth. I can see where console players are coming from but personally I couldn't ask for anything more.
 
That is completely ridiculous!! They were lambasted for each delay they had. People were screaming and whining about wanting to play Cyber NOW. This is what happens when external pressure for release is applied before ANY product it's finished. You get bugs, crashing, and quite possibly failure to launch due to rushing it. Totally ridiculous expectations from a demanding public. Everybody wants it now, and then they want their money back. Chill and buy it once it's done...or pre-order and shut your mouth about delays. Either way, it's on us. They should've released summer 2021 on PS5 only. I liked the game a lot. Even with all the crashing, bugs and NPCs errors. Chill people. Be good, recognize it wasn't ready and be forgiving...this was a result of consumer impatience...not developer incompetence!!! - Hemingway loves gaming (&fishing)
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,128   +2,109
Can we start doing some bashing against EA and Anthem now please? Bored of the Cyberpunk bashing.

Where is Anthem v2.0 we were promised? Where's a roadmap? Why have they been so silent? Is it true it's now only a tiny team working on Anthem?

Because let me tell ya, Anthem was a MUCH bigger fail than Cyberpunk, by orders of magnitude...
 

Namtrooper

Posts: 114   +62
Hmmm, strange take on it all. I preordered Cyberpunk 2077 and on launch day was playing the game smoothly and with all features turned on. I played just over 200 hours of that game, beating it twice. Well worth it's price, I enjoyed the game completely as is.

Worth noting is that I am one of the rare people with an RTX 3090 in my machine, and therefore was able to render everything the game had at maximum glory, and it was amazing. Even the one game breaking bug that happened with one of the patches never affected me directly due to having been past that part of the game when the patch came out and caused that bug. Also was never harmed by the 8mb savefile size bug either, though was aware of it at the time.

I feel zero need to bash CDPR or sue them. I got my money's worth, exactly as hoped and expected. I'm sorry for those of you who didn't, but I cannot help but feel like most who didn't failed to plan for this game properly. If my 4 year old PC with a 3090 upgrade only could handle this game so gloriously, then I have little mercy for those having problems with more modern machines and this game. Poor part planning and likely a Radeon in that machine... That's what you get.

If Cyberpunk 2077 had been an AMD sponsored title, bet your bottom dollar that I would have secured a 6900XT instead of 3090. It was kinda obvious before launch how this game would go.
Spoken like a true Nvidia fan boy.
Using one gpu brand of another doesn't make missing features appear or bugs dissappear. It just runs smoother.
 
Last edited:

moobg

Posts: 40   +42
Oh the director of an NES Metroid clone criticizing big companies with new ideas? Yeah I'll disregard
Five people liked this? It doesn't even make sense.

1. NMS was made by Hello Games, which is a fairly small studio. And CDPR was seen as an industry darling before the Cyberpunk fiasco.
2. Cyberpunk isn't exactly dripping with new ideas, it's a different take on genres and stories we've seen before.
3. "NES Metroid clone?" So you've never actually played either Ori game I take it? I guess you'd call Guacamelee and Hollow Knight "Metroid clones" as well? All of those games are metroidvanias, but they're all very different from each other. They're all amongst the very best in the genre as well.