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PC Gamer
PC Gamer
Ted Litchfield

No Man's Sky lead Sean Murray celebrates a 1% improvement in Steam reviews because each point is just that much harder to earn than the last

No Man's Sky Echoes update key art.

As reported by GamesRadar, Hello Games head Sean Murray took to Twitter to celebrate No Man's Sky clawing another point in its "All Reviews" rating on Steam to 78% positive, noting that as time goes on and more reviews are added, each tick up is harder to earn.

"Guys we just ticked up to 78% positive in All Reviews," Murray wrote. "2021 we hit mostly positve (70%) which took five years. Mathematically each % point is much harder to gain than the last⁠—I never thought it possible, but guys we might hit 'Very Positive' (80%) one day."

That insight into the lifetime evolution of a game's Steam review score is fascinating to me⁠—right at a game's release it can be such a fluid thing, vacillating wildly in response to reviews, discourse, microtransaction controversies, made-up controversies, you name it. Eight years on and with nearly 224,000 reviews in the bank, the needle is just that difficult to move for Hello Games and No Man's Sky.

An 80% score would be a great symbolic win for the once-embattled space sim and its developer, but it's not nearly as existentially important for Hello Games as it might be for other devs on Steam. No Man's Sky and its redemption arc are a pretty known quantity for gamers at this point, and the game's already sold extremely well. For more obscure developers, positive reviews and wishlists are key metrics that translate directly into sales, with algorithmic discovery being necessary to cut through the cacophony of new releases on the platform.

Here's hoping that the studio's follow-up, Light No Fire, has a shorter path to acclaim⁠—maybe it'll just be good, no "redemption arc" necessary. Murray seems to be playing to his reputation for grandiose claims with the "Earth-sized" upcoming RPG, but as PCG executive editor Tyler Wilde has pointed out, did we really want or expect a sober, chastened Murray to come out and say "Hey guys, we're just making a normal one this time." 

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