Aug 25th, 2016 publishUpdated   May 9th, 2017, 4:29 pm

This is the original E3 2014 trailer for No Man’s Sky that sent the internet into a massive two-year hype storm that ended in disappointment and bitter salty tears for most. Who’s to blame for that? Some people say that expectations were too high for the game to begin with, that it could never meet those goals. But what did people found their expectations on?

Marketing materials released by Sony and Hello Games, including interviews done with various game outlets, paint a better picture of where people got this insane level of hype. Looking back through these various pieces of media, we can see how Hello Games co-founder Sean Murray was clearly doing his best to imitate Peter Molyneux’s method of hype generation.

I thought this game was supposed to be multiplayer?

Before the game was released to the public, Sean Murray was asked several times about multiplayer content featured in the game. The most telling example of this is when he appears on The Late Show with Steve Colbert, who explicitly asks him if the game has multiplayer content.

During one portion of this interview, Colbert asks Murray if you can see yourself in the game. Murray says that no, players can’t see themselves and the only way to know what you look like is for another player to see you. Then Colbert asks a very explicit question, to which Murray gives a very explicit answer.

Colbert: Can you run into other people, other players in the game?

Murray: Yes, but the chances of that are incredibly rare, just because of the size of what we’re building.

Murray’s careful crafting of that statement is something Peter Molyneux himself would admire. But the yes is what people got caught up on. Nevermind everything that came after that, Sean Murray said the game has multiplayer. So why doesn’t it?

PC Gamer broke a story about two players who found each other on launch day, but couldn’t see each other. They had managed to land on the same planet in the exact same spot with both players streaming on Twitch, but neither player could see each other. This sparked a lot of questions in the community. Is the game multiplayer?

Players immediately took to Twitter to ask Sean Murray why this was the case. Why couldn’t these players see each other after they were clearly in the same spot? Murray’s answer was another case of avoidance of the issue that circled around the No Man’s Sky subreddit in memes.

His mind is so blown he has no answer to the question, is it possible for other players to see each other in the game? His Twitter feed still doesn’t contain the answer to that question, but shortly before the launch of the game on PS4, Murray did tweet this.

Except, the tweet that follows completely contradicts the statement that the game is not a multiplayer game. He seems to channel his inner Peter Molyneux to once again leave the question with an open-ended answer that could be interpreted in many different ways.

So which is it? Is the game multiplayer or not. Well, from my perspective Sean Murray’s definition of multiplayer and the definition of multiplayer that most of the community is using are not the same. To Sean Murray, the ability to name things and see things that other people have named is multiplayer. That’s the features and easter eggs he’s talking about in this tweet.

So is the game multiplayer? Yes, in the sense that you are in a shared universe of people that have named a bunch of stuff in a database on Hello Games’ servers. But is it co-op in that you can meet up with people in the world around you, like in Elite: Dangerous, EVE: Online, or any other MMORPG? No, it’s not.

At his best, Sean Murray had intended for multiplayer to be in the game as the game was evolving during the four years it had marketing. At his worst, he intentionally misled the gaming community with some of his statements by not clarifying his definition of multiplayer in interviews that were much closer to the time the game released.