Ori Director Says Cyberpunk And No Man’s Sky Developers Are ‘Snake Oil Salesmen’

On Wednesday, Moon Studios CEO Thomas Mahler shared his views on what he perceives as dishonest marketing practices used by several developers, including Populous and Fable creator Peter Molyneux, Hello Games founder and No Man’s Sky creator Sean Murray, and Cyberpunk 2077 studio CD Projekt Red, who he described as “snake oil salesmen.”

“It all started with Molyneux. He was the master of ‘Instead of telling you what my product is, let me just go wild with what I think it could be and get you all excited!’ – And that was fine, until you actually put your money down and then the game was nothing like what Peter was hyping it up to be,” Mahler wrote on Resetera, according to VGC.

“Even days before No Man’s Sky released, he hyped up the Multiplayer that didn’t even exist and was all too happy to let people think that No Man’s Sky was ‘Minecraft in Space’, where you could literally do everything (you being able to do everything is generally a common theme behind the gaming snake oil salesmen, cause hey, that sorta attracts everybody!),” he added.

Mahler says the publicity around No Man’s Sky, which was “built on lies,” led to the Hello Games’ title being featured on the cover of a major publication, while Ori and the Blind Forest was ignored. No Man’s Sky, which was launched in 2016, lacked many of the features announced in the story, although the studio has eventually updated the game to include those features.

Mahler also criticized Cyberpunk 2077, released in December 2020, for its bugs and performance issues at launch, which resulted in Sony removing the game from the PlayStation Store on December 17, 2020. “Here the entire CDPR PR department took all the cues from what worked for Molyneux and Murray and just went completely apesh*t with it. Gamers were to believe that this is ‘Sci-Fi GTA in First Person’. What’s not to love?” Mahler wrote.

“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. This strategy resulted in a sensational 8 million pre-orders,” he added. “There, I said my piece, felt like a chip I needed to get off my shoulder and I think this is a wrong that we should set right so that this won’t happen anymore.”

On January 13, CD Projekt co-founder and joint CEO Marcin Iwinski apologized for the issues that Cyberpunk 2077 presented at launch and vowed to correct the problems in the game through a series of patches as well as DLC and a next-gen update in 2021. Mahler, however, believes that players and reporters have been too quick to “trust and even forgive” the developer.

Mahler followed up his post with the following statement: “We’d be in a better spot if gamers and especially the gaming press would look at things with a bit more of a critical eye instead of just buying into the hype. I know this whole thread might come off as me sounding bitter and I’m sure there’ll be some people that see this as me shitting on other devs. No, I’m not. I’m sh*tting on liars and people that are okay with openly deceiving others.”

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