Update 5:08pm: Sony just responded to our request for comment with a statement: “Incorrect descriptors were incorporated into the original No Man’s Sky limited edition packaging. This was a production issue and was rectified using placement stickers.”
Which doesn’t answer anything. The first sentence simply states what we already knew, and “production issue” could mean anything. There’s still no clarity over what online features No Man’s Sky actually has or how the “production issue” arose. I’ve sent a further request to Sony for clarification. In the meantime, you can read our No Man’s Sky impressions to find out what we think after playing it.
No Man’s Sky‘s limited edition boxes have a sticker on their back with a PEGI 7 rating and a warning for mild violence. Peel the sticker back however and on the box itself is a PEGI 12 rating, a mild violence rating, and an icon signalling that the game features online play.
This is more confusing grist to the confusion mill about exactly what online features the procedural galaxy-’em-up is supposed to have.
To quickly recap: the confusion reached a peek when two players on the game’s first day of release met at the same spot on the same planet but found that they couldn’t see one another or affect each other’s worlds. The ability to see other players in the game was previously confirmed by Hello Games’ Sean Murray, though at the time he considered it unlikely given the game’s 18 quintillion planets. In more recent weeks, Murray has been more keen to stress that No Man’s Sky is not a multiplayer game, though a recent series of tweets after the two players failed to see one another suggested (but did not explicitly state) that the feature was still in there but might not be working due to launch server stress.
Which brings us back to the sticker. An anonymous owner spotted it and uploaded before and after pictures, which you can see below:
It’s likely that the limited edition boxes were printed earlier than their non-limited counterparts, owing to the extra packaging and materials in the box. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that online play – or more specifically the ability to see other players – is cut content as some players assume. “Online play” could just as easily refer to the shared planet names, a feature that’s present in the game and allows you to see planets discovered by others and what names they’ve given to it and its creatures. Perhaps Hello Games later decided the icon was misleading and appealed PEGI’s decision in order to have it changed, or perhaps they printed the box with their best guess before getting a rating from PEGI. Or perhaps the ability to see other players is in the game and simply not working currently because of the server load, as implied.
Or perhaps something else entirely. We’ve contacted Hello Games and Sony for comment.
Disclosure: Our Alec did some last-minute writing for No Man’s Sky. He won’t write about the game for us anymore.