Really, you just have to pay attention to how people are talking about their game. And there is a difference. For example, Molyneux I feel I still trust because I was always able to distinguish what he dreamed a game could be (and wanted it to be, ideally) from what it would be and adjusted my expectations accordingly.
That's the thing with Molyneux. He was never a liar. He was just crazy passionate about game design, and an irrepressible dreamer. Those who got burned with Godus deserved it, for not being able to manage their own expectations. And sometimes you'll have a game that's great at launch, but then ruined over time through mismanagement, making me long for the days of optional patches.
However, with No Man's Sky.... How can I put this? They were too political. It wasn't about being passionate with them, it was clearly always pandering. I didn't want to say too much before the game got closer to release and other people started seeing it. I just saw so much pandering. Almost every 'Jetfighters in Space!' tropey game is like this. If not all of them. The developers of them want to make money with cash-ins.
If they'd just been honest, or displayed any honesty, I could have forgiven them much. They were so political though, speaking in very vague terms and always spinning things. It's that kind of thing where people use so much corporate doublespeak it makes your head spin.
There's a difference between being an idealist and deliberately misleading people, and I think the latter is what happened here even without being cynical about it at all. It's just obvious.
Wow, to call molyneux just passionate, and then call Murray a liar...
There is a difference between an idealist and misleading people, but you have them backwards on which is which. One of these developers would list all of the amazing things that you can do in the game, and then have all of those features not actually make it into the game. The other would list all of the features of the game, have gamers respond with "but what do you actually do?" and then be evasive and keep returning to how cool the algorithm is. From the beginning, gamers wanted No Man's Sky to be a thing that it was never going to be. And the developers have reacted as best they can, even though what they were really passionate about was at odds with what their fans were excited about.
It was the fans in this case who were hopelessly idealistic, not the developer. It's just obvious. There was a large contingent of us who knew exactly what NMS was going to be and were amazed at those who thought it was going to be something that the developers never claimed it was going to be.
I think you are missing the fact that without kickstarter/early access, rust and other games like it wouldn't exist. The need to please the audience and actually finish the game for people who have bought it can be an incentive for some devs to finish ambitious weird projects like this, and make the hard choices to make a good game. When investing money up front for 2 or 3 years to make an ambitious game, it makes it much harder for developers to take risks. It's true that they offload some of that risk to their customers by choosing this model, but it lets the game be developed over time, scaling development according to the size of the audience. All business models have flaws. The market so far has proven that early access/kickstarter is a valid model. It obviously can't be the only model, but it is a great (and maybe the only) option for some games. If it is too heavily abused, it may collapse - just as Atari collapsed when it abused it's market. But I say don't fear the model, wait for it to fail on it's own if that is what will happen. Some of my favorite games right now are from early access, and I'm glad to be able to play them long before I would have been able to under a traditional system.
"...without kickstarter/early access, rust and other games like it wouldn't exist."
I disagree. How do you think games like this existed before Kickstarter and "early access" were even a thing? Independent developers have been around for decades, and the lack of Kickstarter didn't prevent games like Cave Story or Spelunky from becoming phenomenons and earning their developers enough money to retire on, and those games were originally released as freeware! Legend of Grimrock is another notable success by a four-man team that financed the game themselves, and they're holding true to their principles by refusing to release the sequel as "early access". Spiderweb Software has produced at least a dozen hardcore RPGs over the years, all without the benefit of "early access". And there are countless other examples.
Yes, Kickstarter has led to some successes, but I think they're largely the exception rather than the rule. You're right, all business models have their flaws, but Kickstarter/early access have too few safeguards and are far too easily exploited by unscrupulous developers without consequence to convince me that they're legitimate or viable, and I think the sooner they fall out of favor, the better.
When did games stop being about just having fun.
Why does everything need to have an agenda or be rooted in politics of some kind?
Why not do both? And really, simulation/strategy games tend to be more influenced by reality than other game types. Because it makes sense. Part of Prison Architects charm is the idea of trying to make a better prison (or seeing how horrible it can get).
Games have a real power with "politics" as you put it, in that they let you see the outcome of your policies vs other ones in a way that's not preachy.
There are plenty of games out there that are "just" fun... but I don't understand why you would throw a fit when a game actually means something.