'Light No Fire' will not repeat the same mistakes of 'No Man's Sky' — here's why you should keep the faith

Light No Fire
(Image credit: Hello Games)

Announced at The Game Awards 2023, 'Light No Fire' is a fantasy game from Hello Games, the developers of No Man's Sky—a title with a tumultuous history. Light No Fire has a Steam page confirming its arrival on PC, but it's fair to assume it'll hit Xbox Series X|S as well down the line similarly to its predecessor.

Over the past five years, Hello Games has been creating this new adventure, described by founder Sean Murray as "something very different, something more ambitious."

This proclamation comes on the heels of No Man's Sky's transformation from one of the most hyped and anticipated titles of the decade to one of the most disappointing and controversial flops in gaming history. However, it’s time to stop dwelling on the past and extend a fresh opportunity to Hello Games. Through their continued dedication to the development of No Man's Sky, they have proven more than capable of a successful launch, and here's why.

Hello Games has already weathered this storm and harnessed its power for positive change

The self-burn is admirable, from both studios. (Image credit: X/Twitter)

The anticipation for No Man's Sky was palpable back in 2016. However, the game, which promised to be a groundbreaking sci-fi exploration universe featuring procedurally-generated planets, lifeforms, and mysteries, turned out to be a disappointment. The trailers and interviews showcased stunning visuals, diverse environments, and intriguing gameplay, none of which players experienced in the released game. Hello Games learned the bitter lesson of overpromising the hard way, to the extent that they are now comfortable poking fun at themselves, showcasing a newfound confidence. With even Cyberpunk2077 jumping in on the roast.

In a fan-made YouTube video comparing both launch trailers side by side, the similarities are undeniable. While some may consider this an omen, I firmly believe that Hello Games has learned valuable lessons about not showcasing elements they can't deliver, and many things show in the Light No Fire trailer exist in some form in No Man's Sky already. 

They've amassed years of experience in developing, updating, and supporting a large-scale and ambitious game at this stage. Their communication and transparency with both the No Man's Sky community and the media have improved significantly over the past years. It's unlikely that they would easily discard all the goodwill they've earned by repeating the mistakes of the past.

No publisher deadlines, no crunch

Light No Fire

(Image credit: Hello Games)

Another significant factor contributing to No Man’s Sky's troubled launch was the pressure imposed by Sony to meet deadlines. Sony had a major role in marketing and distributing the game, and they had high expectations and demands. This led to Hello Games being forced to expedite the development process, resulting in the unfortunate necessity to cut planned features and content in order to meet the strict release timeline.

This in turn created a disconnect between the game’s vision and the game’s reality, as the trailers and interviews did not match the final product. Shawn Layden, Sony's leader at the time, expressed remorse for the treatment of Hello Games' development process in this interview with Geoff Keighly of The Game Awards in 2016

Layden noted, "What we learned from [No Man's Sky] is that we don't want to stifle ambition, we don't want to stifle creativity. We don't want to put people into slots where they must execute against an action-adventure path or a fighting path or a shooting path. And perhaps over time, it'll reveal itself to be all that it can be."

With Light no Fire, Hello Games will be experiencing a full-circle moment. Self-publishing the game, they have more creative and financial freedom and control over their game, and won't be a slave to the pressures of a huge publisher, as Sony candidly admitted. They can set their own deadlines and priorities, and focus on making the game they want to make, without external interference or influence.

The turnaround of No Man's Sky will be referenced in the gaming history books for millenia

No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky is an impressive comeback that other games like Cyberpunk2077 have tried to emulate (Image credit: Hello Games)

Hello Games has truly resurrected No Man's Sky, transforming it like a phoenix rising from the ashes through over 30 major updates and patches in the seven years since its initial launch. To suggest that they have learned nothing from this journey would be disingenuous.

Of recent reviews, the game now sits at an Overwhelmingly Positive rating on Steam, due in no small part to the fact all those updates have been completely and utterly free to the players. The support that has been thrown behind this game has gone above and beyond what would be expected for a non-subscription title.

The support that has been thrown behind this game has gone above and beyond what would be expected for a non-subscription title.

I jumped into the game myself when the NEXT update dropped in 2018, the game had benefitted from 2 years in the wild at this point and I couldn't believe how good it was. The transformation was staggering even back then, and I found myself spending over 200 hours engaged in mining, building, and traversing the universe while contributing to the vibrant Reddit community with money-making tips. I still remember the day I found and acquired my first S-level freighter, I couldn't believe that this was the game everyone had been so angry about two years prior. 

In the years since my experience, so much has been added to the game it's too overwhelming for me to consider a return, but for NEW players we now have underwater exploration, more planet diversity, organic and sentient starships, exo-mechs suits, haunted freighters, companions, community expeditions and settlements. The list never ends. The metamorphosis of No Man's Sky stands as a testament to Hello Games' commitment to continuous improvement and player satisfaction.

No Man's Sky has Overwhelmingly Positive reviews in the 4065 received in the last 30 days, mainly due to the recent Echoes update. (Image credit: Steam)

Hello Games deserves some faith

Hello Games has remained steadfast in honoring its original promise to deliver an exceptional game, realizing its complete vision that couldn't be hastily executed at launch.

Their ability and willingness to improve and evolve their game over time is admirable, and something I always reference as the blueprint for how you bring a game back from the dead. All of that being said, we live in different times now. In a stacked year for gaming like 2023, a successful launch is more critical than ever. With an abundance of outstanding titles capturing players' attention, the margin for error is slim. Failing to captivate players from the outset risks permanent disengagement, regardless of subsequent improvements. Hello Games is undoubtedly aware of this paradigm shift, navigating the "fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you" scenario with heightened senses (and one of humor as has been displayed on Twitter/X).

Light No Fire will be the culmination of all Hello Games' hard work over the past decade, and I am rooting for them — as should we all.

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather. 

  • bazanime
    2016 was a long time it's amazing the kind of people that hold a grudge for that long whilst so much has changed and improved since then.
    Hello Games is not a small skeleton crew studio anymore, they have amassed a great amount of experience over the years from all the incredible updates to NMS alone not to mention the new generation of talented staff in this gaming-rich era, and the tech is vastly more powerful compared to 10 or 7 years ago for development.

    I have no doubt they can do what they say, all I look forward to is how interesting they can make a globe-trotting simulator.