No Man’s Sky is actually starting to make sense

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For a longer time than I think even Hello Games cares to admit, a lot of people were really confused about what No Man’s Sky really was. A combination or struggling to present all of the game’s genuinely unique ideas in a short space of time and media unable to fathom what all it’s randomly generating maths means, No Man’s Sky was eventually just this thing. This game that allowed you to near infinitely explore a gorgeous universe, and do some other things on the side. No one was really sure.

That’s changed in a big way, especially after many previews for the now June bound game went live last night. A handful of press managed to squeeze in some hands-on time with No Man’s Sky recently, and even these brief, fleeting playthroughs have offered more insight into what No Man’s Sky is than ever before.

First and foremost, No Man’s Sky is about exploration. Director Sean Murray explains that while lacking a narrative, No Man’s Sky is about the beauty of exploration and the pursuit or knowing more. This insatiable need to know more ties in with the game’s ultimate goal – reaching the centre of the universe. Given that No Man’s Sky can create 18 billion billion permutations of planets, it’s not even certain you’ll ever reach it.

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There’s no possibility for guides or walkthroughs, because everyone’s game is different, and that’s exactly what Hello Games is trying to achieve. According to Murray, this is one of the single most important goals for the game to nail. As Murray explained to Gamespot:

“So 99.9 percent of these star systems will never be visited That’s either quite beautiful or seriously depressing.”

“The centre is a really long way away. Like, really long.”

So No Man’s Sky is big. We’ve known this for a while already. What we didn’t really know is just what we’d do with all that space. Landing on a planet was previously just about resource gathering, but we now know that some of its randomly generated inhabitants aren’t all less intelligent wildlife. No Man’s Sky will feature massive NPC alien races that you can talk to, trade with or just generally be a dick too. Trading resources helps you gather more rare items – such as resources from planets you’ve probably never heard of before – which tie heavily into the game crafting system.

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Crafting is probably the most important bit here, because it determines so much about how you’ll explore No Man’s Sky’s worlds. Land on a plant too cold, and your suit will start to warn you of imminent hyperthermia. Land on one too hot and you’ll be burnt to a crisp in seconds. Upgrading your suit opens up new doors for you, just as upgrading your weapons and ship allow you to gather different resources and fly to more distant planets respectively.

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Also there’s space pirate that are just eager to shoot you down and steal all your hard earned resources. So yeah, your ship is pretty important. Speaking to IGN, Murray expressed how RPG-ish No man’s Sky can feel.

“I can upgrade everything about myself. It’s kind of a non-linear RPG. You can upgrade your tech tree in whatever way you want.”

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So No Man’s Sky really sounds rooted in familiar tropes after all, even if it’s taking these tropes and relying on the unpredictability of the maths that essentially builds the game as you play. It’s fascinating to say the least, and and less intriguing than the day it was revealed all the way back in 2013. And now that I have a better idea of what it’s going to be, the wait until June 21st is going to feel even longer. No Man’s Sky is out on PC and PS4.

Last Updated: March 4, 2016

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • Umar

    I don’t know. It always made sense to me. I understand why people needed to know more though seeing as how they’re being asked to fork out $60 for this game, and these days it’s risky buying a game based on promises. I just think it’s wonderful to be able to pick up a game that we hardly know anything about. In an age where trailers and previews give away majority of the game’s inner workings and content, I find NMS’s approach to be somewhat refreshing…We’ll see if it lives up to the hype.

  • Jac7

    Guess I need to take a little (quite long) sabbatical to get to the centre of the galaxy. Consider me seiked.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    The only thing that sounds really new here is the NPC alien races part, otherwise it’s basically what I’ve thought it was all along. And why I’m still not really that keen on it because I find aimless exploring and crafting kinda dull after a while. It’s got a lot to prove.

    • Umar

      True. There’s lots of talk from the developer about there being a story and lots of lore, so I’m interested to see the extent of that claim, but I’m with you on this one, it’s why I can’t do survival games for too long, not because there is no story, but it starts to feel pointless after a while.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Yeah, just like DaNO! No, stop it! *slap self* 😀

        • Umar

          No no, complete your sentence…GO AHEAD *cocks shotgun*

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

  • konfab

    My goal for this game is:
    Pick a home planet.
    Find a nice star constellation in the sky of that planet.
    Go to each star in that constellation.

    That is probably the most amazing thing about this game.

    • Pariah

      A home base I think will be something I want to do too. A huge, sprawling base on one beautiful planet, probably on a cliff by a waterfall if I can find one. Sunsets for days.

      • Really?

        You know you can’t construct buildings right? Resources gathered are for suit, multi-tool and ship upgrades.

  • chimera_85

    Can’t wait, well I can cos I’ll have to wait for a sale or something on Steam

  • CypherGate

    So the goal is to reach the centre of the universe which is basically impossible to do. So we will play a game that will never have an ending. So we will explore planets, craft items, mining, upgrading your ship etc So its basically a type of Life Simulation like the Sims, but just in space basically. I dont know… Ill just have to play the game to be able to see if it will catch on for me. Right now just thinking about the game makes me feel isolated and lonely LOL

  • Damian Mestic

    *reaches centre of the universe
    *expecting life changing wisdom
    *see’s a hand drawn d*ck.

  • Snowlock2.0

    Going to wait and see some gameplay before I fork out for the game + PS4

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