Sean Murray Managing director, co-founder
When you started out, did being so close to one another make that initial leap into indie development less scary?
Well, we didn’t have the classic business guy or management guy starting with us, so that for me was slightly terrifying. But Ryan Doyle and I had worked very closely [at Criterion], and Dave Ream and Grant Duncan went to school together, so they’ve known each other even longer. Between the four of us, we’d all known each other for years and years, so we were good friends, which I think is a weird makeup for a company, but obviously a nice one.
How has that changed how you do things?
We started as a group of equals, and a group of friends, and that’s what we still have now. When you set up a company as we did, you don’t necessarily think, ‘What’s our company culture going to be?’ but it naturally happened like that. And you aren’t going to take any shit from each other, so that obviously helps.
Looking around here, it seems the flood affected your premises more than others.
Actually, everywhere was the same. There were cars that were pretty much underwater, and we’re surrounded by residential houses with families that were completely flooded out. And you can imagine what that’s like on Christmas Eve when you have kids. That night was really bad for us, a horrible feeling, because it’s your personal stuff as well as the office.
Were you worried that you’d lost even more?
We were really lucky that we had backups [of No Man’s Sky], but I couldn’t imagine a situation where you wouldn’t, so from that point of view you’re not too worried about that. What goes through your mind at times like that isn’t rational, but it’s not until you sit down with source code a few weeks later that you realise it’s OK. Lots of people were asking us [what we’d lost] and you don’t want to answer, because you’re not sure. But we’re fine and back working now.
When you reported the flood on Twitter, there was a huge groundswell of support. What kind of assistance did you get?
A few people said things about Microsoft helping us – I’ve seen that on Twitter a lot but, well, they didn’t! They are really nice people and offered to help us, but we were laser focused on getting back up and running.
Is that down to your indie mentality? Does the desire to go it alone mean that you’re less likely to seek help?
I felt a bit embarrassed by it, to be honest. I mean, we posted on Twitter, which is how people knew, but we didn’t post about it [to get help]. And then I would go home and check websites and find stuff on Edge and Kotaku about it, and it was just a horrible feeling. I didn’t want people to think about it. I didn’t want people to know about it. I’d rather invest my own time in solving the problem rather than rally everyone else round to help us.
The flood made a mess of Hello’s regular office space, but the NoMan’sSky team (top, from left: David Ream, Grant Duncan, Hazel McKendrick and Sean Murray) is continuing its work upstairs