So this is the game most people are excited for? What could it be? The freedom? The sense of scale? The fact that it is something different? It’s all this and more, coupled with a real British underdog spirit, the kind of game that is taking on the big publishers and studios at their own game, and so far, showing them how it’s done.
Not that this is something that is being asked for, or courted by, of the studio. Sean Murray, Hello Games most public figure, has been humble and unassuming in his explanations of the game, and has let his and his team’s creation speak for itself. And the game has a lot of impressive things to say to a very receptive audience.
First announced during the now defunct VGX last year, the game caused a huge stir, going on to steal E3 and become a huge focus of news bites, magazine features and podcast discussion since. It has many people in awe and wonder. What’s astounding is that is a very small team, previously known for the Joe Danger games, and it is a seemingly huge leap to make from a downloadable platformer to an open world universe, and something that has added to a sense of scepticism in some corners. Can a team this small really achieve something this ambitious? What dark voodoo magic are they employing, because surely a team of this size and experience can’t produce this?
Yet , the developers haven’t put a foot wrong, and further reveals and information are only serving to get people even more excited as it seems the game is living up to it’s promises and more. The game feels like a physical (or should that be digital) manifestation of how players in the eighties imagined Elite, except this time you can even go down onto the planets. The game promises to have a exploratiative core, with resource gathering allowing you to gather new ships and access to new areas.
And this is no dark, gritty future being presented. Blazing with golds and oranges, bathed in deep aquas and enveloped in azure, the game exudes colour, and is reminiscent of old fashioned sci-fi novels, as well as more recent examples like the sci-fi masterworks book covers from a decade or two ago. Google them, they are beautiful.
Everything is procedurally generated, including, as one trailer suggests, ‘every ‘ atom’ Bold claims indeed. It is clear that the studios want the experience to be as individual to every player as possible, with it being possible to discover planets, and demos have shown tags above planets and areas that say ‘discovered by so and so player’.
Referencing the current trend for open ended, player driven objectives and narratives in games such as MineCraft and Day-Z, Hello Games, have a clear experience in mind, if not yet showing the public a clear idea of what players do in the game. It has garnered recent criticism for showing a lack of objective, criticism that are both unfounded and also maybe hint at the expectation that the game is creating. It is clear people are worried that this game might be too good to be true, and are trying to find ways to deflate their hopes and dreams for the little big game that most probably, fingers crossed, will.
No Man’s Sky seems to be offering something different, something that has clearly given it a differentiating factor that separates it from the usual glut of shooters, third person actioners and glitzy sports games. Time will tell, as it’s who-knows-when 2015 release date creeps ever closer. There are still a lot of question marks surrounding this highly anticipated title, but they are undoubtedly questions that we are asking like wide-eyed innocents desperate to embark on that ultimate adventure.