Hello Games’ Sean Murray says his studio’s Twitter and email account have been hacked, after the studio account tweeted this morning that the space exploration game No Man’s Sky was “a mistake.” The tweet was later deleted and the studio’s account set to private, while emails purporting to be from studio founder Murray claimed responsibility for the message. The Twitter account is now back online and in control.
“The tweet is from me, but somebody from the team took it down,” an email to Polygon from Murray’s account reads. “We have not been coping well.”
A suspicious email sent to two Polygon staffers, neither of whom corresponded directly with Murray previously, contained an “apology” for the game. The email apes frequent community criticisms, and includes a tell in the spelling of “apologize” (British English would spell it differently, as Sean Murray does in this post). Here’s the email:
No Man's Sky was a mistake.
I have contacted you because the silence from Hello Games has been unwarranted and unprofessional. The community has asked me to speak up, and I have a confession to make. The game was simply unfinished upon arrival. Our hand was forced by not only Sony, but the community as well. The constant harassment and absolute gross misconduct on the community's part has made it hard to fulfill our artistic vision, while the pressure from Sony to release the game as soon as possible forced us to cut key features. I want to apologize for what we did not deliver on, as the game does not meet up to what our artistic vision was.
However, we do wish that the community was more understanding of our situation. Many people have asked for refunds despite our promise to continually improve and update No Man's Sky. We are just a small studio that has poured our blood, sweat, and tears into this project. The complete lack of respect when it comes to the work we have done absolutely saddens not only myself, but the team as well. We want to improve the game to the point we dreamed of it being and beyond.
I hope everyone affected understands,
Murray hasn’t responded to follow up emails, phone calls and texts and his formerly active personal Twitter account hadn’t been used since Aug. 18, until the following tweets were sent, nearly five hours after the deleted tweet:
Server hacked. We're binging Mr Robot Episodes as quickly as we can looking for answers. Ep05 is a cracker— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) October 28, 2016
If anything was a mistake, it was using Linked In without 2FA.— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) October 28, 2016
The studio has also removed the Twitter feed sidebar from its website which, thanks to caching, was still showing the deleted tweet hours later.
Some six hours after the original tweet was released, the Hello Games Twitter account appears to be back under control.
.@NoMansSky 100% not hacked anymore... obviously those mails and that tweet were fake. Back to work— Hello Games (@hellogames) October 28, 2016
The Hello Games tweet comes as the game continues to receive vitriolic comments from players.
On Steam, No Man’s Sky has an overwhelmingly negative user response. Ahead of launch, the game was touted as a sprawling, procedurally generated adventure through the galaxy; players have found the finished product to be less than what they were expecting, with mixed reviews and an especially vocal player base calling out Hello Games for No Man’s Sky’s "false promises."
The game received an average score in the 70s on Metacritic. We gave the game a 6.
Developing … We are still working on further verification that Murray's tweet and email aren’t the result of a hack.
Update: Forbes is reporting that they have spoken to a representative who verified that the tweet was sent from a “disgruntled employee.” Mashable is reporting that Sean Murray told them, “The tweet came from a disgruntled employee” and “We're currently trying to solve the issue internally.” We’ve updated this story throughout with new information, including Murray’s follow-up tweets.