While it was being marketed, the most exciting aspect of Indie game developer Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky was the fact that it is set in a procedurally generated galaxy that is reportedly “infinite”. In short, you enter the game and your path through it continually spawns environments that you’re able to then explore. The biggest selling point of the game is the idea of being able to travel wherever your heart desires; if you’re exploring one planet and see a towering cliff or the planet next door, you can get back in your ship and go. As soon as the game starts up, you’ll find yourself on one such generated environment, without a single piece of direction. By restricting information and direction, No Man’s Sky forces you to take the lead on your path throughout the game.
Although there was a huge marketing campaign, accompanied by tremendous hype, the game’s launch has not been issue-free. In interviews and press releases leading up to the release date, game developer Sean Murray implied that a multiplayer function would be part of the game, though dodging the question frequently. Murray summarized that yes, meeting other players would be possible, but extremely unlikely, due to the environment in the game not being conducive – with so many worlds generating, it would be highly unlikely to run into another player.
Players have also complained of glitching throughout the game, especially in some travelling sequences, as well as some issues with the physics of the game not being as realistic as they were promoted as being. Some of the more frustrated players suggested that the game StarMade is more realistic, and more what it is promoted to be; that, and the game developers have released a free version of StarMade for users to test out until the full game is released. There is also a rumour that No Man’s Sky allegedly has these glitches or shortcomings due to a rush to make the release date, a date that has been pushed back many times before.
Fortunately, modders have already begun to throw their skills into the game by developing easy to use mods that simplify some of the more annoying features of the game, “for example when [the game] tells you your inventory is full … or your life support systems are low at 75 per cent” (eurogamer.net). Despite the criticisms, the game is definitely worth a play. The art is beautiful and the exploration, though lacking plot, will satisfy your need to adventure around in space.
Kostyn Petrunick, Arts & Culture Editor