What we know
The most widely discussed feature of No Man’s Sky is its open, procedurally generated universe with over 18 quintillion planets. This aspect tends to overshadow other details, but publisher and developer Hello Games has revealed a trove of additional gameplay information since the title’s announcement. Slated for release between 9 and 12 August 2016, this seems like a good time to examine what we know about No Man’s Sky.
To begin with, the practical reality of the vast procedurally generated universe is that it’s not massively persistent but individually persistent. The universe will have the same layout and planets the same general characteristics for all players, but exact details will be player-specific. This still allows No Man’s Sky to be played as a single- or multiplayer game.
In terms of gameplay, expect a first-person open world game with a focus on survival and exploration. Players will have resource gathering skills, attack abilities, defensive abilities and a scanning function for exploration. There are no missions – discovery is your mission. Your ultimate goal? To reach the centre of the universe.
Players will use spacecraft to travel the cosmos, landing on planets to catalogue them. They can upload their discoveries to a universal database called The Atlas. How far a player can explore, will depend on their ship’s engine and fuel capacity.
Additionally, players will be able to interact with NPCs but have to master alien languages to communicate effectively. Mastering languages will let one garner influence with NPC factions for trade and combat. There’s also an infamy system: hostility towards alien factions can result in aggression and a player who takes too many resources from a planet and harms its life forms will become wanted by Sentinels (mysterious robotic wardens). Death will result in loss of resources and exploration data not yet submitted to The Atlas.
No Man’s Sky will release on PS4 and PC, priced at £39.99 ($59.99). It’s a buy-to-play title and console fans will not need a PlayStation Plus subscription to play.
Although Hello Games has received much praise for its concept, there have been obstacles as well. The initial launch date of 21 June was delayed and the game’s pricing drew some criticism. Regardless, No Man’s Skyillustrates a brilliant facet of indie-game development: how clever ideas can create a vast interstellar world without unnecessarily inflating development costs.