Video games have made incredible leaps forward over the past several decades. No longer are players limited to linear, two-dimensional adventures – now they can explore giant landscapes which are populated with clever A.I. and plenty of different things to accomplish. Various video game developers continue to add more and more to what open world video games have to offer, but the size of Hello Games’ upcoming space exploration video game, No Man’s Sky, is jaw-droppingly large.
Instead of giving players an open world to explore, No Man’s Sky is giving them an open universe. Using a procedurally generated universe which is full of unique planets, moons, and alien life, the video game will place players at the edge of a galaxy and give them one objective: reach the middle of the massive galaxy. To get there, players will need to explore and make discoveries to earn currency (which is called “units” in the game). With the currency they can obtain new ships – which allow them to travel farther – and weapons. There’s a lot to see in the game and players still have many questions, so the developer’s founder has revealed 18 minutes of gameplay. You can watch all of it above.
Hello Games’ founder, Sean Murray, met with IGN to show them just how vast No Man’s Sky truly is. The video gives players their best look yet at the massive game, displaying more of the different ways you can play and how these choices affect your adventure. The 18 minutes showed once again that players can fly to the surface of a planet, exit their ship and explore, get back in their ship, and then fly away from the planet and head somewhere else in space without encountering a single loading screen. Games like Grand Theft Auto V and Batman: Arkham Knight offer players gorgeous cities to explore, but what No Man’s Sky is doing takes exploration to a whole new level.
While exploring a planet or moon – which is full of unique creatures – players can scan the region to discover new lifeforms. Once the discovery is uploaded at a local beacon, the player earns units. Just like the universe’s seemingly countless planets, sun, and moons, the ships and weaponry are procedurally generated. According to Murray, that means there’s “literally hundreds of thousands of different variants of ships and weaponry you can discover.” When discovering a creature, this also gives players the chance to name it. No word yet on whether or not there will be any kind of filter so some creatures can’t have blatantly offensive names.
Exploration is the game’s big selling point, but based on the gameplay, it looks like there’re plenty of ways to approach the cosmic trip in No Man’s Sky. The game isn’t limited to just traveling and scanning – there’s also combat and the ability to mine resources (which is a “sci-fi version of our periodic table). Resources can be combined to create new alloys and then sold at trading posts.
As for combat, it’s optional, but Murray implied there’s plenty to do for fans of shooters. During the gameplay, it was revealed players can scare away aggressive wildlife by firing near them – that will cause them to flee and they’ll run away if they spot you again. However, if players choose to kill wildlife, their wanted level will increase. When that happens, flying robots called Sentinels – which were described as a race of self-replicating robots – will come after the player and shoot at them. The more the more the player destroys, the more their wanted level will increase and that’ll send more and more Sentinels after them.
If killed, the player will lose any resources and discoveries that were not uploaded at a beacon. The only way to lower a wanted level is to evade the Sentinels, but seeing as they hunt the player all across the surface of the planet or moon, Murray suggested flying into space as a good way to stay alive and reduce the wanted level.
A majority of the gameplay video takes place on and near just a single planet in a solar system. When the map of space began to zoom away, the planet wasn’t even a speck – countless suns appeared as more and more of the galaxy was revealed. The sheer size of the universe is impressive and Hello Games didn’t slack when it came to the size of the planets, either. Murray stated players can walk on a planet for “days and days, weeks and weeks.” Some planets have toxic environments, so suit and ships upgrades will be required to enter their atmosphere and explore. Players also have a jetpack to make traveling on foot a little easier.
No hints were given about what waits for players at the center of the galaxy. Murray did state there’s a reason gamers would keep playing if they reached that destination and said “there’s always more to explore.” However, he also said he understands if a lot of people feel like they’ve completed the game at that point. The enormous universe to tour and the variety of creatures to discover is stunning, but only time will tell if the gameplay gives players the urge to keep exploring for months and months – or if the adventure begins to feel repetitive, pretty quick.
No Man’s Sky will be available for PlayStation 4 and PC. A release date has not been announced yet.