No Man’s Sky first caught my attention in late 2013. A short colourful two minute trailer, which featured dozens of planetary environments, followed by a diverse montage of space combat. The trailer came without much of a description, aiming more to introduce rather than to inform the viewer. With E3 half a year later, a second awe-inspiring super saturated trailer was released during Sony’s press conference. It stole the show. Next to it, the much awaited Destiny seemed small and uninspired – remember, this was before Destiny was released.
The most surprising thing about No Man’s Sky however, was not the truly massive procedurally generated world with 18 quintillion possibilities, nor the incredibly fluid transition from First Person planet exploration to immersive dog fighting (both in atmosphere and in space). No, what truly surprised, was that the project at the time was run by four developers in a small studio in the South of England.
Unlike many games today, No Man’s Sky is based on complex mathematical formulas. Every solar system, every planet, every life form is calculated and generated. The result is that most planets you will run into are dull and barren, but carry valuable resources. Rarely will you encounter a planet with life and even scarcer are those with impressive fauna and flora.
These extraordinary finds, combined with getting the credit for finding and exploring them, are meant to encouraging players to explore ever closer to the centre of the universe. No Man’s Sky does not come with your traditional storyline. According to the developers, there will be no cutscenes, no dialogue and limited text. Instead, narrative will be conveyed through exploration.
In terms of gameplay, what little has been confirmed paints No Man’s Sky as a mixture between Minecraft and Star Citizen. Resource collection and trading are essential for players to upgrade their character and ship. These upgrades will in turn allow players to explore even deeper into the unknown, all while discovering hidden truths about the world they play in.
It certainly holds promise as one of the most ambitious upcoming games. Assuming it lives up to the hype, No Man’s Sky could reshape its genre and reaffirm that risk can still be rewarded in an industry that seems to detest it. For that reason alone I look forward to No Man’s Sky.