Yeesh, Hello Games, Sean Murray, and No Man's Sky aren't going to catch a break, are they? Exactly one month after it was revealed No Man's Sky was being formally investigated for advertising fraud, it seems someone decided to hack the Hello Games twitter account and tweet "No Man's Sky was a mistake. The tweet has been removed, but not before the internet snagged a screenshot.
I don't think I need to tell you what the response has been like.
However, if the tweet were the only symptom, we could probably brush this off as just another Twitter account being hacked. But there's more to it than the tweet, and if you try to dissect it, it only gets more confusing... so let's dissect it!
In Addition To The Tweet, Several Conflicting Emails Have Been Sent
Here's where things get a bit more confusing. Around the same time the tweet was sent, a few media outlets received emails from a Hello Games address that Sean Murray has used in the past. The email purported to be from Sean himself and apologized for, well, pretty much everything the community has been upset about.
Several of these outlets reached out to Sean Murray via an email address they'd used in the past to see what the heck was going on. Some of these outlets were told the tweet was from Sean Murray, some were told it was from an employee, and some were told the tweet was fake but the email was sincere — none of these may be real. Altogether, that leaves us with the following:
- The Hello Games Twitter account posted the "mistake" Tweet this morning.
- Polygon received an email from 'Sean Murray' apologizing for No Man's Sky.
- Polygon was told, "The tweet is from me, but somebody from the team took it down. We have not been coping well" in a follow-up email from 'Sean Murray.'
- Both Mashable and Forbes received a different email from 'Sean Murray' claiming, "The tweet came from a disgruntled employee. We're currently trying to solve the issue internally."
- Kotaku received an email claiming the tweet was from a disgruntled employee but the "email that [they] sent however was official."
What that most likely means is that Hello Games was probably compromised through more than just Twitter, since at least one email address seems to have been hacked as well. And for those looking to dismiss this as a hack, Polygon rightfully pointed out that the email sent to them utilized the American-English spelling of "apologize" rather than the British-English spelling ("apologise") which Sean would have used.
It Was Professor Planet In A Starbucks With A VPN
After all of the above occurred, Sean Murray posted via his personal Twitter accountthe above tweet stating that the Hello Games account had been hacked. So that's the end, right? Well, maybe.
Thing is, subsequent tweets from Murray have been about as nonchalant as the above tweet. Furthermore, the following two tweets merit a bit of scrutiny:
Why scrutiny? Namely because Sean Murray is the founder of Hello Games and definitely has access to the Hello Games Twitter account. So what reason would he have for essentially tweeting to himself?
It's possible Murray's lighthearted approach to all of this was to show the public he was remaining calm and taking things in stride rather than panicking or letting them get to him. Similarly, tweeting to himself may have been a way for him to verify publicly the validity of Hello Games' tweet.
But then again, any attempts by media to contact Hello Games since the tweet have been met with silence. You'd think (hope?) Hello Games would at least attempt to verify everything was back to normal in a more official capacity than a tweet. Plus, if the hacker was able to get into both Twitter and Sean's Hello Games email address, what's to say Sean's Twitter wasn't hacked?
Yes, it's confusing and difficult at this point to know what to believe as the truth.
But There Might Be A Silver Lining To All Of This
While the email silence is not necessarily the best sign, this entire fiasco may hopefully mean Hello Games and Sean Murray finally open up and communicate a bit more. After all, before this morning, Sean Murray's most recent tweet was from August 18th. Similarly, the Hello Games Twitter account has posted sparsely, save for a few notices that small patches have gone out for No Man's Sky.
Among other complaints, lack of communication in light of the game's overwhelmingly negative reception has been a main criticism from players. Especially in the face of open communication being shown for a game like Overwatch, not speaking to your player base looks really bad on the company.
Even if communication isn't happening all the time, I sincerely hope Sean Murray and co. don't let more months pass with the most recent tweets from their accounts being in regards to a hacker that tweeted/emailed what many players have wanted to see for months. Hopefully we have more communication and a better idea of what the heck happened sooner rather than later.
What do you make of all this hacking business? More importantly, whodunnit?!