OPINION: On the Delay of No Man’s Sky and Death Threats

Friday, June 10th, 2016

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of oprainfall as a whole.

No Man's Sky

As I’m sure you’re all aware by this point, No Man’s Sky has been delayed from its original June 21 release date to August 9. While this is disappointing news all around, most fans accept that it’s only an extra month and a half, and if it means the dev team has the needed time to ensure everything works as it should at launch, it’s a reasonable thing to ask.

However, gamers will be gamers, and some people in the community were not willing to take this lying down. They decided that, rather than accept a small delay for the sake of quality, the best course of action would be to start hurling death threats. Not only to developer head Sean Murray, but to the Kotaku reporter who wrote the initial article about the delay, Jason Schreier. Schreier posted a screenshot of a DM conversation with one of these fans on his Twitter:

Meanwhile, Sean Murray had this to say about the death threats he and his studio Hello Games received:

Anyone following the gaming community for the last several years should know that some gamers slinging death threats at people is nothing new. Death threats seem to be the go-to response for some gamers when they get angry, particularly following a series of events a couple years ago that I’m not going to go into. It also happened to BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler following the release of Dragon Age II, and too many other times to keep track of.

Usually it happens after a poorly-received launch, or when someone in the industry or game journalism antagonizes gamers in some way. However, having this sort of reaction to a quality-based delay is something new, and an unusually petty case of this sort of harassment.

This should go without saying. But, in case some of you don’t know this, I’ll say it anyway.

No Man's Sky | Becron 5

I don’t care how upset you are about something, or how mad you are at someone. There is always a line, and death threats (or other forms of harassment) are ALWAYS crossing it. It is absolutely NEVER an appropriate response.

Sending death threats doesn’t help anyone. Ultimately it just reflects poorly on whoever sent them, and from there onto gamers as a whole. It’s the main reason why the gaming community at large has such a reputation for toxicity. You know, aside from all the actual toxicity that gamers have a tendency to throw around to begin with. Death threats are just a lot more visible, and a lot more liable to become an issue that gains infamy beyond gaming circles. My point? The CBC, the Canadian public news and broadcast company and its closest equivalent to NBC in the US, has reported on Sean Murray receiving death threats. When major mainstream news outlets are reporting on gaming-related news, that’s when you know that something has become a major issue.

Death threats are things that people see. They become newsworthy. People will learn about them. Gaming tends to be woefully underrepresented in mainstream media, so when those disconnected from gaming see the news about the death threats, that becomes their image of gamers: a group of entitled man-children who are unable to deal with people who do things that they don’t like. That’s what sending death threats makes you come across as, and by extension all gamers.

No Man's Sky | Fleet

I know most gamers aren’t like this. Chances are you do, too, and I’m just preaching to the choir here. It’s a case of a vocal, extreme minority being used as a representation of an entire group, simply because it’s the group outsiders are most familiar with. However, I still feel that it’s something that bears mentioning, because it keeps happening, over and over again.

Let me finish up by stating my point very clearly: nothing that anyone does is a serious enough offense to merit this kind of harassment. If you find death threats to be an appropriate response to something someone does, then stop yourself and take a step back. Express your displeasure like the adult that you are; not by slinging abuse, because that’s not how you get your point across and it makes all of us look bad when you do.

If you’re one of these people sending death threats, then grow up. I get that you’re excited for No Man’s Sky, but sending death threats and harassment accomplishes nothing. You’re not a child anymore, so stop acting like one.

About Chris Melchin

Chris is a computer science student who has been gaming ever since he knew what to do with a Super Nintendo controller. Since then, he's owned every Nintendo console to be released. His favourite games include Xenoblade Chronicles, Persona 4 Golden, and Little Busters. He started watching anime in high school, and his favourite series is Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. He also writes Vocaloid music for his personal YouTube channel, and has a (slight) obsession with Megurine Luka.

  • TrueWiiMaster

    Wow. Sending death threats in any case is obviously wrong, but to send them in response to a delay? There is something wrong with those people. I can’t decide if this stems from the growing sense of entitlement in the gaming community (I have a right to what I want!, and the like), or just the idiocy of a few. Maybe a bit of both. It does make me wonder, though, how often developers and publishers get this kind of stuff, and just stay silent about it so that it isn’t encouraged. I wonder how many threats Nintendo got over Metroid Prime: Federation Force…

    • Panpopo

      I don’t think it’s just people that play games. ANY large group of people is going to have a few bad apples. I am certain this getting attention due to the absurdity of the situation, which the developers seem to recognize.

      Unfortunately the internet, while giving you the freedom to say what you want relatively anonymously, can be a double-edged sword. It makes it very easy to be uncivil towards one another, which is always sad imo.

  • Infophile

    Thanks for making this post. You probably are indeed preaching to the choir… at least mostly. I’m sure most people here would never consider this, but there could well be a handful that would indeed consider it, and I hope they’ll keep in mind that it does more harm than good, no matter your cause.

  • Panpopo

    Death threats are nothing new – anyone in the public eye has certainly received them since the dawn of the Internet. Also, there is always the possibility of receiving threats of bodily harm if you ever get into an argument with a random person on the internet, or post something they disagree with. The threat of violence (no matter the medium) has always been a part of the human experience.

    It’s extremely unlikely anything ever comes from it, however. Threats from keyboard warriors and threats from someone in person are completely different. Not that there is any excuse for it, but there is always going to be confrontation and conflict – just have to learn to ignore it.

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  • VanFinale

    Death threats are nothing exclusive to game culture this happens everywhere and to everyone. It’s stupid and pretty much pointless I can’t think of a single case where a threat was actually acted upon. Or a single case where the person receiving threats changed their “horrible” decision. All it does is get articles written about it and make everyone on the community look like shit as well as sink the journalists lower into the tabloids section.

  • KissDisqus

    Hamburger helper got death threats? I thought everyone just made fun of her.
    Gosh golly everyone seems to take threats over the internet as serious business these days. If this bothers people so much I guess everyone can just fall back on the age old “kill urself” instead

  • Daymon

    There are definitely nuts in every group, not just gaming. It sucks when people do crap like this, though, because the unknowing masses only see the bad, and it gives all of us a bad name.