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

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