Moon Studios director Thomas Mahler, who worked on much-celebrated game Ori and the Will of the Wisps, railed against “gaming snake oil salesmen” who, despite their lies and false promises, are continuously rehabilitated and rewarded in the gaming industry. In a Resetera forum post, he singled out the developers of Cyberpunk 2077 and No Man’s Sky for relentlessly overpromising and massively under-delivering.
On Cyberpunk 2077, he said, “Made by the guys that made Witcher 3, so this sh*t had to be good. Here’s our Cyberpunk universe and – trust us – you can do f**king everything! … Gamers were to believe that this is “Sci-Fi GTA in First Person”. What’s not to love? 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.”
But he noted that, ultimately, the game fell far short of its hype and could barely run on consoles.
Then, he explained his personal frustration with the game industry and game journalism. Back in 2014, he learnt that a major game publication had picked No Man’s Sky over the game he worked on (Ori and the Blind Forest) for the cover article only because the former was the ‘bigger game.’
“I really felt bamboozled once No Man’s Sky came out and it became clear that all this hype was really just built on lies and the honest guy who just showed his actual product really got kicked in the b*lls because the lying guy was able to make up some tall tales that held absolutely no substance,” he wrote.
The next day, Mahler apologised for his words, saying he “wasn’t thoughtful” in presenting his thoughts, and didn’t choose the right tone or platform for it. He added he was especially sorry to those he mentioned by name.
Yup, I screwed up yesterday. Here's my thoughts: pic.twitter.com/4gH0KGxURA
— thomasmahler (@thomasmahler) February 4, 2021
In many ways, his frustrations regarding Cyberpunk 2077 and No Man’s Sky still carry a lot of merits, given all the problems that gamers have experienced during the launch of both titles. Unfortunately, the tendency of overhyping will continue to be part of the industry whether you like it or not, especially when it comes to AAA titles which cost millions of dollars to produce and market these days.