Update: GOG are now offering refunds to anyone who owns NMS there, even if they’re beyond the 30-day guarantee. GOG take great, finger-pointing pains to say that “Hello Games chose not to offer refunds over missing game content to our users” and this is “entirely at GOG’s own cost”. I have found it’s often best to brew a cuppa, have a ciggy, or stroll round the block before making snippy proclamations.
Space pootler No Man’s Sky added online multiplayer in its long-awaited Next update yesterday, but what I’d missed–and don’t remember hearing about in advance?–is that this is only for the Steam version of No Man’s Sky. Citizens of the stars who bought the game DRM-free on GOG have received much of the Next update, with all its prettying-up and frigate fleets and new missions and whatnot, but not multiplayer. Online play is not in the GOG version yet, and isn’t expected until “later this year.”
No Man’s Sky developers Hello Games issued a joint statement with GOG when Next launched yesterday:
“From launch, the DRM-free edition of No Man’s Sky will include all single-player content introduced by NEXT: third-person mode, upgraded visuals, better base building, player customisation, and more.
“However the multiplayer component will not be ready at launch; we expect it to be released later this year as full multiplayer parity remains in the pipeline.
“For a small, independent studio, developing the feature across multiple platforms is a hugely ambitious and technical challenge which resulted in this delayed release. Hello Games is however joining forces with GOG.COM to introduce full multiplayer via the GOG Galaxy platform.”
It’s not unknown for GOG versions of games to be worse off than their Steam counterparts, perhaps getting patched later, not getting expansions, having smaller numbers of folks in multiplayer, or missing some features (Offworld Trading Company, for example, is missing custom multiplayer lobbies on GOG). GOG being DRM-free is dandy and all, but the store is a lower priority for many developers. Steam simply has a bigger audience, and the tools Valve offer for powering multiplayer games are older and better-established.
As Hello say, it can be difficult for developers to build a game across multiple platforms and multiple multiplayer technoguts, and I can understand why GOG is presently a lower priority. But that still sucks for people who buy games there – especially when there isn’t advance notice of these upsets.
GOG’s biggest statement on this in advance, as far as I’ve seen, is a small reply tweet last week, saying “We’ll have news on this next week.” Well, next week is now this week, and it turns out the news they had was delivered right as the update launched. I haven’t seen anything earlier from Hello mentioning this either. Poor show.
Disclosure: Our Alec wrote some words for an earlier version of No Man’s Sky, and I know a Hello fella.