In a month’s time Playstation 4 owners will be able to get their sweaty summer mitts on one of the most hyped games of this generation, Hello Games’ – “No Man’s Sky”. The excitement within the gaming community is palpable, but I’m wary.
“18 quintillion planets” are theoretically possible for you to visit according to the most recent trailer. I say theoretically, as somebody did the maths and it turned out it would take you billions of years to explore every single one of them. You may have gone slightly overboard there lads, 2 quintillion would have sufficed.
Since its first appearance, Hello Games have bamboozled gamers with incomprehensible facts and figures about the size of the explorable universe within No Man’s Sky. It gets to the point though where the eyes begin to glaze over as it all starts to become a little meaningless.
Gamers always want bigger and better worlds to explore, I think it’s a natural progression as we have journeyed through each generation of console. Yet it can get to the point where worlds are too big and too empty as to be interesting. This is the core of the problem with No Man’s Sky, I believe.
If there is nothing to fill the world then why does it need to be that big? Take Red Dead Redemption, for example. The game world is vast, and yet it is filled with amazing characters and details that you often stumble upon sometimes entirely by accident. The Witcher 3 is another prime example. These are massive worlds but filled to the brim with interesting NPC’s and quests.
It seems that there is none of that quality and gameplay in No Man’s Sky. Apparently there is little to no story and our aim is to explore, mine materials and catalogue what we find. There is little to no interaction between characters – as I don’t believe there are any. Have your socks been blown off yet?
And I swear that if I hear the term “procedurally generated” one more time then I’m going to put my head through my PS4 and send Sean Murray the bill. Most of No Man’s Sky *sigh* is generated procedurally; the planets, the life forms, the sound effects, the terrain etc. But how long is it going to be remain interesting to land on yet another planet which is slightly hillier than the last one and a slightly different shade of red? Or to see a tree with square branches rather than round? Or to “scan” and catalogue an animal with two dicks rather than one? You get the idea.
The very best worlds in video games are meticulously thought out and filled to the brim with lore and legend, with characters that ooze story and dripping with gorgeous dialogue that has been painstakingly crafted by a writer or writing team over countless hours.
We will be getting none of this with No Man’s Sky. Yet maybe that’s the point. Maybe the handful of people who have worked on this intend for the universe to be sparse – much like our own.
I really want to be wrong, I honestly do. I pray to the gaming Gods that in a few weeks I’ll be eating humble pie because I respect Hello Games and admire their ambition. But unfortunately, I have a feeling that the resounding lesson that Hello Games will take from No Man’s Sky is that sometimes, less is more.
4 thoughts on “The State of Play – No Man’s Sky”
Well put together. I agree with some of your points. However I also feel that there is still hope for the game yet. I think that the lawsuit that Sean’s team recently won is partly to blame for it coming late to the Release Party. I don’t have a PS4 anymore or a strong enough PC to run NMS…that won’t deter me from finding a way to play it. This game at it’s core is unfortunately a niche title and will see it’s success much like Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous. Due to the seemingly incessant delays, the pepper has fallen off the ol’ baseball so to speak. I look forward to this game, but you and I know that this may indeed become…No Man’s Sigh.
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You’re right man. I just want to be blown away, but we will have to wait and see.
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Great points all around. I was extremely skeptical at first- it felt like it was A) too good to be true and B) too big to be cohesive. And it’s not cohesive. In fact, it’s so disconnected that you’re likely to never see another planet that someone else discovered. It’s mind blowing and frustrating at the same time. In the end, though, I am really looking forward to the game- it has a lot of promise.
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Personally i think it depends how to recieve the game. Sony has over hyped this game for way to long.
If you go into this game hoping for a mechanically rich game with loads of story I think you will be disappointed but if you go in for the emersion of the world and the spectacular views you may just find something you like.