The UK's Advertising Standards Authority is investigating action-adventure survival video game No Man's Sky after it received "several complaints" about the game's potentially misleading advertising.
A representative for the organization confirmed to Eurogamer that the investigation has begun and is focused on the No Man's Sky page on the Steam platform. The ASA's stated ambition is to act on complaints and proactively take action against "misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements."
The ASA has the authority to have offending ads removed and blocked from appearing again, according to Eurogamer. Since the investigation into No Man's Sky is ongoing, the agency could not offer further specifics. However, it did confirm that it reached out to developer Hello Games and Steam operator Valve in an attempt to get answers about No Man's Sky's advertisements on Steam.
A Reddit poster claims to have received a response from the ASA regarding its investigation into No Man's Sky. Among the topics Hello Games and Valve have reportedly been asked to respond to are videos that showed No Man's Sky's animal and ship-flying behavior, flowing water effects, and large-scale space combat.
The ASA is also apparently looking for answers regarding the stated size of the game's creatures, structures and buildings seen in screenshots before release.
Additionally, the ASA has questions about the quality of No Man's Sky's graphics as shown on the game's Steam page compared to the launch version and its apparent references to a lack of loading screens, trading systems between stars, and "factions vying over territory."
"We will ensure the advertisers are made aware of any points relating to other marketing material under their control (such as the Hello Games YouTube channel and website)," the ASA stated. It was also mentioned that the outcome of the ASA's investigation into No Man's Sky's Steam page could affect its listings on other marketplaces.
The Reddit user mentioned above, AzzerUK, filed a formal complaint to the ASA over No Man's Sky's Steam page. He told Eurogamer he wanted to reach out to the group not because he was particularly angry (he did not request a refund), but instead because he was alarmed "after seeing just how vastly different the trailers for No Man's Sky were from the actual released game." He added that he felt "properly misled."
We'll report back with more information on this case as it becomes available.
In 2012, the ASA rejected complaints about a Hitman: Absolution ad, declaring that a commercial for the game ""did not glamorize violence, or violence towards women." In 2007, the group had an Xbox 360 ad that it claims glamorized street racing removed, while in 2008 it banned a Stranglehold ad, claiming it could "encourage and condone" violence.
No Man's Sky launched in August on PC and PS4 without a number of features that director Sean Murray discussed prior to launch, which the game and its creators were criticized for. Others still enjoyed the game for what it was; you can read GameSpot's review here.
This story originally posted on GameSpot as "No Man's Sky Being Investigated Over Misleading Advertising Claims."