Ori and the Blind Forest director Thomas Mahler had some choice things to say about games like Cyberpunk 2077 and No Man's Sky. In a post on ResetEra, the Moon Studios CEO tore into developers like CD Projekt Red and Hello Games, accusing them of being "snake oil salesmen" that hype up games they know won't be able to deliver on their promises. According to Mahler, developers learned this playbook from Fable creator Peter Molyneux, who Mahler accused of consistently making promises that he couldn't keep. The result? Tons of pre-orders sold, and fans purchasing games that end up disappointing.
"Every video released by CDPR was carefully crafted to create a picture in players minds that was just insanely compelling," wrote Mahler. "They stopped just short of outright saying that this thing would cure cancer. This strategy resulted in a sensational 8 million pre-orders."
Of course, Cyberpunk 2077 failed to deliver on those expectations, resulting in a number of fans demanding refunds, and the game's removal from the PlayStation Store. While Cyberpunk 2077 does have its share of fans, the game's troubles have been well-publicized. Mahler is not the first one to make the connection between Cyberpunk 2077 and No Man's Sky; following Cyberpunk 2077's release, many gamers compared the hype for the two games, and how the finished products failed to deliver on the promises of their developers.
In the post, Mahler also details how Ori and the Blind Forest nearly got the cover for a gaming magazine in 2014, but it got bumped for No Man's Sky as it was deemed the "bigger game." Mahler claims he understood at the time why the decision was made, but in retrospect, it's cause for frustration.
"I really felt bamboozled once No Man's Sky came out and it became clear that all this hype was really just built on lies and the honest guy who just showed his actual product really got kicked in the balls because the lying guy was able to make up some tall tales that held absolutely no substance."
As the gaming industry continues to grow, it can be difficult for outlets to cover every new release, or devote the time and resources to those that deserve it the most. While consumers get hit in the wallet when games fail to live-up to the hype, smaller developers like Moon Studios also end up getting hurt. The time and money that gamers put towards these types of releases could be better spent. There's no perfect answer for Mahler's arguments, but he certainly makes some very strong points.
Ori and the Blind Forest and its sequel Ori and the Will of the Wisps are currently available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.
What do you think or Mahler's comments? Do you agree with the developer's frustration? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!