The sci-fi exploration title from Hello Games will see the light this June 21 – and it has us all hyped. We go here through some of the most fascinating facts about No Man’s Sky. Buckle up!
The official countdown has started: No Man’s Sky will arrive to PC and PlayStation 4 this June already. News about its development were received with expectation during VGX 2013 but it was only in E3 last year that we got a glimpse of the scale and beauty of this project. But what is that it makes No Man’s Sky so special?
Is it its self-generated procedural mechanism? Is it the ambiance, the colors, the (absence of) music? The thrill of wild and open exploration as we traverse star maps and land our feet in a hostile environments? Or maybe the capacity to instill the imagination and story-making of the person playing? There are as many reasons as gamers are out there, of course, but one thing is certain: each gaming experience will be unique on its own. This is one of the core discourses of No Man’s Sky and the one that will define probably the trajectory of this game. They have also stated that this won’t be a game for everyone.
We have summarized here some interesting facts about it. Buckle up and relax. We have barely started and it’s going to be quite the journey!
There’s no story…and the multiplayer is probably going to be a tad lonely
No Man’s Sky does not bring us a linear story in a classic sense. There is no other central character apart from the person piloting the camera, this is, us. Think about Terraria or Minecraft and try to imagine the type of backstory that they have – it’s the kind of lore that prevails in No Man’s Sky. It basically means that the sense of the game will generate from the community that plays it and the experiences they share.
On the other hand, the chances of ever encountering another human being on the other side of the screen seem to be slim (we will be able to connect with friends – yet they will be far, far away). However, we will be given the tools to leave an imprint in the galaxy. If you happen to be a pioneer you could record your presence with a beacon. Or maybe you do find the traces of someone that was there before you… Scanning old artifacts and crashed ships will improve abilities and general performance of your own ship and suit. Gathering resources, mining and surviving the surprises of each place will surely add to your personal tales as well.
Hello Games has confirmed that No Man’s Sky is not a multiplayer game in a typical sense either. But there will be an Atlas, the consolidation of what everyone has ever discovered. This will be the general beacon of all the things that players have seen and chosen to share with the world. Expect some massive wikis and community content to be generated on top of this as well.
Exploration is pretty infinite
Hello Games likes to talk about numbers when it comes to their universe and the framework for scouting. At the moment there are something like 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 unique, explorable planets in the game. One can only imagine the level of maths behind that unreadable number. The fact is that nothing there will be random but rather, the result of hundreds of rules in place. And in order to assure this, the team at Hello Games has been launching their own bots and probes around with a mission: to bring data from these planets and ensure its variety and interest. Which is pretty fascinating.
World exploration and generation comes hand to hand only as we play the game. If we disconnect from it, the universe will not get stored in a hard disk or external server. When we return to our Playstation or PC it will be exactly as it was, at the very same point where we left it. This means that No Man’s Sky will be completely playable offline.
The galaxy is definitely infinite
In the vast world of No Man’s Sky, be ready to encounter really random stuff, also procedurally generated. Each one of those billions and billions of planets will have its own structure and composition, following the same rules that apply to our solar system. This means that planets closer to their suns will be rather barren and those far away, rather cold and icy. Head for the ones in the middle and you will probably find the best ecosystems No Man’s Sky has to offer. But beware of those shinny colors. Some of these environments will be highly hazardous and will require a suit upgrade.
As you may have seen from the different gameplay demos available out there, whenever we land on a planet we will be able to see not only what lies around us but also other objects and shapes in the horizon. Advance a little bit towards those and they will materialize clearly in front of you, ready to be trespassed.
When it comes to the creatures that populate those planets, think about them as an automated, Spore-like kind of fauna. Creatures will have different shapes, sizes, colors, behaviors and even sounds, reacting differently to us according to their own nature. Some animals may attack us, some may leave us in peace. You may be the hunter; you may be the prey. Biology will operate full-scale here, routines, sleeping cycles and food chains included.
Our ships can be customized, and exploration could lead to full scale space battles
We will only have one ship at a time, open to customization across different spheres: speed, maneuverability, jump drive range or firing power. Depending on the style of gameplay that we choose, there will be different ships that cater better to our trading, fighting or exploring wishes. Even if we die (ah, yes, you can certainly go MIA, keep on reading), and have no in-game currency to get us a new ship at the space stations and stores, there always be a basic one waiting for us at our main vessel. And remember, the space is dark and full of terrors… and we better keep the fuel levels under control.
During the E3 presentation we were introduced already to two of the main sources of combat we will encounter. One are the Sentinels, the so-called planet police, and we also have the Factions. The Sentinels will be randomly distributed on the maps and they will retaliate if our breach of the environment is big enough. The folks at Hello Games have also promised a sort of “wanted level;” the more we do/destroy, the higher the attention we will draw upon us and the harder it will be to elude the Sentinels’ retaliation (did you train your escape skills in the last GTA? Good., you’ll need those).
On a broader scale we may encounter factions of spaceships striving for territory and engaging in full-scale fights in outer space. We will have total freedom to engage with them (benefiting from that alliance and nurturing a newly formed rivalry) or remaining neutral to the quarrel. Just remember that pursuing the path of pacifism will not grant always a peaceful outcome during the course of our exploration. The space may be vast but this sandbox title is packed with action as well.
Death is not our friend
Last but not least, death is possible in No Man’s Sky. But it sings a different tune than that one of The Doors. Rather than the end, it’s a problem. Death will be an issue if you perish in outer space, since you will revive at the nearest space station but without ship and latest items and discoveries obtained. So if you want to go on a suicide mission, you better do so on the solid surface of a planet. You may end up dead as well but at least you will keep your ship.
All things considered, we will still need to delve inside this universe for some hours to fully taste it and reflect on its accomplishments and shortcomings. Its apparent lack of “purpose” and the fact that it is definitely not an MMO could be a downer for a lot of players – but the people at Hello Games have been straight-forward since the very beginning. They are creating a new sandbox experience with No Man’s Sky and they do not want to disappoint promising something that it is not in the menu.
So if you are the kind of gamer that enjoys the perks of shared experiences and accomplishments – you may want to look somewhere else.
And if you cherish the prospects of solitary exploration, the sense of wonder and find yourself comfortable in the immensity of space, then you have an appointment with No Man’s Sky this June.