Sean Murray explains why he'd rather update No Man's Sky than make a sequel

(Image credit: Hello Games)

No Man's Sky entered a new golden age with its Next update, and with the three-part No Man's Sky Beyond expansion on the horizon, it's showing no signs of slowing down. We're also coming up on the game's three-year anniversary, and as Hello Games founder Sean Murray told GamesIndustry in a recent interview, the studio is committed to supporting the game for the foreseeable future. Not only that, Murray would rather support the game than make a sequel for it. Starting fresh might sound appealing given the game's troubled launch, but Murray says updating the game also comes with certain freedom and excitement. 

Before Hello Games, Murray worked at Burnout developer Criterion, and his experience there shaped his stance on sequels. "We did Burnout, and then Burnout after Burnout," he said. "While that was fun, it was just never as fun as the first one we worked on where it felt a lot more blue sky and the game could be anything. And making games is really hard. Making Burnout 4 was just as hard as making Burnout 3, even though it shouldn't be. If you're going to work hard, it's more exciting to do something innovative and new." 

With No Man's Sky, Murray would rather deliver innovation through iteration. "Updating No Man's Sky allows us to focus just on what's new, rather than trying to revisit the whole of the game and do it with slightly different characters, ships and environments," he told GamesIndustry. "It's fun to look at what features we don't support right now and just go after that... When we move on to new games it makes sense to focus on stuff that's big, silly and ambitious, because that's what gets us out of bed in the morning." 

(Image credit: Hello Games)

Hello Games isn't necessarily leashed to No Man's Sky. Just recently Murray teased a wildly different game that's separate from No Man's Sky and the studio's other passion project The Last Campfire. The freedom to pursue games like these is a direct function of No Man's Sky's comeback - which has been so complete that players crowdfunded a billboard thanking Hello Games for continuing to work on the game. 

"We're in a nice position now, and I think this is the happiest the team has been," Murray said. "Beyond is on the horizon for us, we're working very hard on that at the moment. After that, I think we'll continue to update No Man's Sky. But a thing I've learnt is, I never like making promises when I don't have to. We'll see, right? As long as people are interested and playing it, it's something that the team here is passionate about. We'll only do it while we think there are fun and interesting things to add." 

After years of persistent updates, No Man's Sky is better than ever.  

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.