Hello Games has been cleared by the Advertising Standard Authority.
Since its release, disgruntled players have been complaining about Hello Games’ space sandbox game No Man’s Sky. The complaints include claims that promotional material, screenshots and trailers, including those on the game’s Steam store page, showcase a game with better visuals, gameplay and performance than what’s in the actual game. The Advertising Standard Authority has been examining the game for the past two months, but have concluded that the material largely represented the final product and was unlikely to mislead customers.
To asses the claims, the agency reviewed material on the game’s Steam store page, as well as material provided by Hello Games directly. They then played the game to see if the depicted scenes could be easily replicated or experienced through the scope of an average playthrough. One of the complaints involved large-scale space battles, which Hello Games admitted were more unlikely to encounter. “In relation to these features, we considered that the ad did not depict gameplay that differed materially from the footage provided by Hello Games, and that it was therefore unlikely to mislead,” the ASA said.
The regulators did find differences between some trailers and the gameplay in the final release. For example, they were unable to replicate a shot of a space ship flying under a rock formation. The trailer also featured large animals moving trees, which the agency was not able to find in the game. They concluded however, that this had been a “fleeting and incidental scene” in a trailer, and thus not likely to mislead consumers.
While ultimately cleared of charges, the agency did comment that Hello Games had shown off their game in the best possible light. You can hardly blame them for that, but many players are still unhappy. The ruling follows a bumpy few months for the developer, who has been criticized for cutting features, such as multiplayer, and for delivering a hollow experience devoid of much gameplay beyond resource collecting. The studio is hoping to amend some of the unhappy fans with their latest update, which includes base-building and the two game modes “creative” and “survival”.