The epic proportions of Hello Games’ upcoming sci-fi, space explorer and adventure title No Man’s Sky are enough to baffle the casual gamer and inspire the deep-space explorer inside us all. This timed exclusive for PS4 from the creators of the successful Joe Danger series will launch players into a virtually infinite open-universe teeming with colorful solar systems, explorable planets, and all shapes and sizes of alien species. While an official release date has yet to be confirmed, rumors of an allegedly “leaked” release date queue the title for launch in Q3 2015, then for PC in 2016.
Across the Universe
Players will navigate the procedurally generated cosmos in small but upgradeable ships available in three variants – fighter, trader, explorer. Resources collected from mining and exploration can be utilized to equip ships with increasingly powerful hyperdrives and weaponry, allowing for faster and safer travel into deeper reaches of space. Although next to nothing has been revealed regarding the title’s plot, developers tantalize that fostering a ship powerful enough to travel to the “centre of the galaxy” will be key to unveiling the game’s mysteries.
The open-world philosophy of “if you can see it, you can travel to it” may flabbergast players as they’re presented with the literal billions of stars; founder of Hello Games Sean Murray posted in Playstation.Blog that the game universe will contain 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 randomly generated planets, every single one unique, “planet-sized,” and discoverable. As we can observe in Hello Game’s E3 2014 demonstration, planetary landscapes can vary from lush oddly-colored jungles overrun with dinosaur-like wildlife to arid deserts with massive floating landforms and beyond.
The game’s overall structure will encourage players to travel the stars, however players will also be rewarded for stepping out of their ships to explore alien planets on foot. Tools for mining, self-defense, and increased mobility will help players make the most of their surroundings while surviving dangerous environments.
A Digital Big Bang
No Man’s Sky is anticipated to be a beautiful piece that will add to the controversial conversation on procedural and computer generated art. Early in-game footage makes it evident that developers were creative but discerning while constructing and styling their digital Big Bang. Space travel will be brought to life by a palette of vibrant colors, classic sci-fi-inspired designs and architecture, impressive next-gen visuals, and a beautiful, relevant original soundtrack created specifically for the game by the instrumental post/math rock band 65daysofstatic.
Despite its first-person-only view and rich artful qualities, No Man’s Sky will be neither simulation nor ambient virtual-installation. Interplanetary travel will be expressed with minor travel time between planets and quick atmospheric traversal. Arcade-style space combat will include a generous targeting system, appealing to a notion of accessible fun over realism. Despite the game’s emphasis on exploration, it’s clear that it will not be a “Proteus in space;” hazardous environments, warring factions, and dangerous wildlife will challenge players to survive while managing resources essential to conducting further adventures.
The shared procedurally generated universe will be available both online and offline. Although online encounters with other players will be possible, Murray claims that such occurrences will be rare due to the extraordinary breadth of the game world. Players may find themselves a few solar systems away from the nearest player and light years away from their nearest friend. Passive online interactions will at least allow players to claim discovered locations and species to their handle as well as provide other players with useful information like planet contents, alien populations, and mineable resources.
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
No Man’s Sky promises compelling levels of freedom, challenge, and environmental variety unlike anything ever before seen on consoles. Whether the title’s gameplay mechanics, delivery, and overall fun live up to the creators’ grand vision remains to be seen; however, Hello Games seem confident in their product. Hopefully we’ll be able to get lost among the stars later this year.
Written by Oscar Rodriguez