There's no denying that EA's Anthem and Bethesda's Fallout 76 are textbook examples of polarizing launches. In fact, both games have continued to struggle months after their initial releases. One developer who is no stranger to this cycle of hype and disappointment is Sean Murray of Hello Games.
Being part of the team that went through the disappointing launch of No Man's Sky and its revival two years later, Murray offered some advice for developers working on games with troubled launches.
Speaking at the Develop conference in Brighton, England, Murray reiterated the importance of the mantra, "Actions speak louder than words." While the Anthem community has since reached a point of frustration over the lack of communication from the studio, Murray believes this is the best course of action since talking about features for a game that is already out isn't interesting or, as he puts it, credible. Instead, developers keep their heads down and focus on the hard work to get the game where it needs to be rather than getting distracted with what the community is saying or trying to save face.
There have been a number of games that have since come out, had a polarising launch,and that explosive mix of loads of people playing it but also problems. And I can see EA, Microsoft, or Bethesda try to placate players by just talking to them, but for right or wrong, it just doesn't really work.
While not everyone may agree with this methodology, Murray and Hello Games have plenty of experience in this area. In an attempt to not further upset those who purchased No Man's Sky, the studio instead focused on turning things around through post-launch updates and content. As such, three months went by without anything being said to the community and an additional 21 months for the press itself. While Murray admits the silence was difficult at times, it seemingly paid off through the numerous updates and the significant Next update which essentially transformed the entire game.
I sat down so many times and wrote the perfect blog post that was going to explain everything about the game's development, and the road map going ahead. But I could see that it didn't hold credibility with regards to where we were at.
Regardless of whether or not Bethesda or BioWare adhere to Murray's advice, both Fallout 76 and Anthem appear to be heading in very opposite directions. After countless controversies and issues, Fallout 76 has stabilized a bit thanks to continued updates, the surprisingly popular Nuclear Winter battle royale mode, and an upcoming expansion that adds in many fan-requested features like NPCs and dialogue choices.
Anthem, on the other hand, continues to struggle. While EA has continued to express support for the game and the time it needs to become something more than it is now, there isn't a lot of good news for the game. BioWare continues its radio silence and the game had a small presence at EA Play 2019. The oft delayed Cataclysm event has not been received well by the community following its test server debut and reveal stream and bugs continue to hamper the overall experience.