No Man’s Sky

PC, PS4

EDGE - - GAMES -

De­vel­oper/pub­lisher Hello Games For­mat PC, PS4 Ori­gin UK Re­lease June 24

Sean Mur­ray has a prob­lem. It’s the last pre­sen­ta­tion in a long day of press demon­stra­tions and he’s just dis­cov­ered, on tak­ing to the stage, that his bot­tle of wa­ter is sparkling. “I might burp,” he warns, “which is also em­bar­goed.” But while a pub­lic bout of wind might be on the cards, No Man’s Sky lead Mur­ray is un­com­fort­able for an­other rea­son en­tirely: de­spite his ex­cite­ment at work­ing on a game in which so many have taken a strong in­ter­est, the rig­ma­role of pub­li­cis­ing it – and nur­tur­ing that pub­lic en­thu­si­asm – from be­hind a nec­es­sary veil of se­crecy is tak­ing its toll on a man who just wants to code.

“We’ve never done some­thing quite to this level be­fore,” Mur­ray tells us when we meet fol­low­ing a belch-free demon­stra­tion. “This is the first time we’ve done an event that Sony’s or­gan­ised and we’ve seen, like, 80 press to­day. And that’s re­ally strange to me. You end up with what I’d call a very shal­low ocean; I’ve given an ocean of very shal­low an­swers. It feels so weird, and ev­ery­thing about it is my least favourite thing – I come away from this feel­ing like I just want to have a shower and leave it be­hind. You use talk­ing to some­body as a com­mod­ity. Like, ‘Five more min­utes. Ten more min­utes. This is your last ques­tion,’ and stuff like that. And that feels so in­hu­man to me. Like I’m some weird lit­tle as­set. It makes me ques­tion in­ter­ac­tions with peo­ple, and you lose a lit­tle bit of your soul. And, y’know, af­ter the game comes out, NeoGAF will prob­a­bly put a hit out on me or some­thing. We all know it’s com­ing…”

But Mur­ray’s dis­com­fort shouldn’t be mis­taken for in­grat­i­tude or ar­ro­gance. This is a man who, de­spite strug­gling with the mon­u­men­tal task of bring­ing his am­bi­tious vi­sion to life, re­mains imp­ishly en­thu­si­as­tic about the im­por­tant stuff: cod­ing, cre­at­ing and the prospect of shar­ing his game with play­ers. And he can even find some pos­i­tives within the pub­lic­ity mael­strom.

“I never saw videogames as my ve­hi­cle into some PR sce­nario,” he elab­o­rates. “I al­ways saw it as mak­ing games, I just never ex­pected this side of it. And I’m def­i­nitely not the charis­matic front­man that I should be for this role. But, while I say all that, and while it hasn’t sunk in yet, I got to go on stage at E3. I got to go on Stephen Col­bert’s show. It all seems weird right now, but pre­sum­ably once enough time’s passed I’ll be like, ‘That was cool! Let’s never do that again!’”

Of course, the re­al­ity is that Mur­ray’s mod­esty, nat­u­ral charm (un­easy or oth­er­wise) and can­dour is what makes him such an ap­peal­ing spokesman in the first place, and his abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate his en­thu­si­asm for No Man’s Sky is part of what has driven

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