No Man’s Sky and Among Us both took home awards at The Game Awards 2020, No Man’s Sky for Best Ongoing Game and Among Us for Best Multiplayer and Best Mobile Game.
However, both of these games had very troubled starts, with Among Us failing to get noticed and No Man’s Sky suffering from overhype, overpromising, and the inevitable disappointment from fans.
Despite these setbacks, their respective studios continued to work on them, and today it seems that their hard work has been recognized.
How No Man’s Sky and Among Us pushed through failure to find success
It’s entirely fair, if a bit harsh, to claim that Among Us and No Man’s Sky had failed upon their initial release.
Among Us simply did not generate enough attention or sales and was an obscure indie gem waiting to be found for years. No Man’s Sky ran into the opposite problem, it ended up getting noticed in a big way, and Sean Murray from Hello Games overpromised and oversold features that were absent upon the game’s release.
For No Man’s Sky, the ensuing backlash showed how hype can be a double edged sword, especially for indie developers, and for Murray in particular, it was problematic. as the game became so closely associated with his image and personality.
Shortly after the game’s release, players seemed to steadily abandon the game, perhaps chalking it up to another unfortunate disappointment.
But despite this harsh representation of the events following its release, Hello Games continued to work on No Man’s Sky, introducing new and refining old content.
Years after the game’s release, Hello Games developed update after update, packing in more gameplay and more fun things to explore as the months went on.
Due to their perseverance, No Man’s Sky has become something Hello Games should be proud to associate with, something which they can confidently hang their reputations on.
And for Among Us
For Among Us, the problem was the unfortunate lack of hype and attention. It’s hard to say what exactly led to Among Us being rediscovered, as it seemed to spread through natural word-of-mouth chains across the world in the third quarter of 2020.
Innersloth’s own data suggests that the game caught on among certain circles in Korea and Brazil where it eventually made its way to various content creators.
It lingered in these content creator circles for a while before those were able to bypass the language barriers were able to get Among Us to break into the English speaking internet.
Once it made it to the English language internet, Among Us was discovered by some of the bigger content creators online and eventually spread around the globe.
This process did not seem to directly involve Innersloth, and it’s fair to say that chance played a significant role in the game’s discovery. Nonetheless, the fact that Innersloth maintained their role as suzerain of the game meant that they were able to adapt to the game’s sudden exponential growth.
Innersloth never needed to restart development on Among Us because they were already still working on the game. With the added community feedback from the sudden increase in players, Among Us was also able to improve their development process and direct their attention on features that will help make the game more fun for more players.