Why is there so much pressure on Sean Murray to define what No Man’s Sky actually is?

Hello games are a small, independent, video-games company based in Guilford, England. Right now they’re more than likely functioning on strong coffee and using enough fuel to burn away that midnight oil for weeks to come, while they continue work on their new and upcoming game – No Man’s Sky.

My connection with Hello Games all started around five years ago when Joe Danger was released on PSN. A big fan of the art style and feeling the reminiscence of excite bike shining through, I decided to go ahead and download it. The gameplay was solid, the art style was beautiful and it was even better when played with friends.

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Different ships are available and you can find resources to upgrade them

Fast-forward about three years later and No Man’s Sky was on the horizon of announcement. Our eyes were left to feast on the procedural universe shown in the reveal trailer released on their YouTube channel. I was drawn in by the art-style almost instantly, sheer beauty was showcased in a universal way among so many unique planets, but the main thing I was drawn to was the initial quote the game provided throughout the video.

Every planet procedural. Every planet unique. Every planet unexplored

Murray stated “Impressively, every atom is said to be procedurally generated in No Man’s Sky, from the meteors flying through space to the underwater plants found on the planets, all of it undiscovered and waiting for you to pop on over and have a look around. There will be hostile forces acting against you at times, though; that much, we can see a brief glimpse of.” You embark on your galactic journey aboard your own spaceship on the edge of the universe, with the plan on migrating to the centre. Every planet you see, you can navigate towards. Arriving upon the terrain you are then able to explore and traverse that landscape.

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You could mine for resources, discover the inhabitants, or submerge yourself below the depths of any lakes or oceans that may lie upon the surface – revealing any life that may exist beneath. If you see a star in the distance you can zoom off towards that, eventually revealing a new unexplored solar system. This isn’t similar to how in Destiny or Ratchet & Clank you choose your planet and instantly fast travel there (although this will be possible). The main thing is to explore and discover the universe at your own pace.

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You will find other creatures roaming the unexplored planets you discover.

The game itself is so big that trying to see everything in No Man’s Sky would actually take you over five billion years in real life, one hell of a platinum trophy then, hey? No Mans Sky has had the gaming industry on the edge of their seats ever since these gigantic claims surfaced. But one question that people just can’t seem to stop asking is “What do you actually do in No Man’s Sky?” Something Sean Murray is very reluctant to reveal so easily.

There’s the answer I want to give, and then there’s the one I can’t really say

From the articles I’ve read and the research I’ve done, Murray doesn’t want to put a stamp on the game and personally I don’t want to see one either. I feel that No Man’s Sky is a game that falls in the category of something I like to call a non-genre game. These include the likes of Minecraft, Day Z, Rust, and Journey. All of these games have one thing in common, none of them were initially explained before they released and nearly all of them were extremely popular or won awards in some way.

None of these titles were stamped as a certain kind of ‘genre’ or ‘game’ and yet so many people played and still cherish these games to this day. So why now do we need to brand ‘NMS’ and categorize it in a genre we can further apprehend? Why are we so desperate as gamers to label something we don’t understand, why not just let it be?

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I don’t know if it’s something to do with a newer generation or just because I’m getting old, but when I was younger all we had to go off to whether we’d purchase a game, or not, was the screenshots on the back of the cover in your local game retailer/rental shop or a sparse collection of screen shots in your favourite monthly video game magazine – remember those days?

The game itself is so big that trying to see everything in No Man’s sky would actually take you over five billion years in real life

These days we are overloaded with so much information surrounding new games that when we play them we know almost everything about them – how long the game may last, the main protagonists, backgrounds, gameplay mechanics, characters, story plot elements and what the game may consist of entirely. What’s the harm in going into a new experience blind? why do we need to know every little detail of something before we become part of it? The whole point of the games I labeled above was to go at your own pace, create your own adventure and I personally feel the same way about No Man’s Sky.

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It feels like there’s so much pressure on the back of Sean Murray and the cast of Hello Games to actually explain everything we do in the game. Personally I have chosen to put myself on blackout for the title, avoiding any news or information that might spoil the demeanor of how I approach it. If only people can have faith and give the guys at Hello Games a chance and just actually experience the game first hand, rather than wanting to go in equipped with a catalogue of knowledge explaining every minute detail.

A big part of me wishes this game didn’t have so much hype behind it, not for one minute do I think Hello Games don’t deserve it, but I’d like to have seen how people may approach it if it was to come out in a similar way to how Minecraft did. You don’t want to bleed a game dry of information before hand or the experience is then left stale. Sometimes it’s good to just take that step into the unknown, take that leap of faith into the darkness and you may find it to be something that could change your life and your own journey forever, and not just within Video games.

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You can dog fight with other ships, human or AI in outer-space

What would be the point in life if we already knew what was going to happen before we did it, that’s what makes it interesting, we make the journey on our own. Why can’t people let video games share a similar experience? Just try it for once. I can assure you the experience will be better than going in already knowing the majority of information that you’re used to.

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It seems like to hook people in and keep them seated these days you need some sort of narrative, gameplay hook or end goal for people to complete. Without that people just seem to lose their minds and become put off by what a game is – whether that be because they lack creativity or not used to the cliche of modern gaming. But that’s something that needs to change.

/ CR

When a Video Game instantly draws you in.

It’s not very often a game comes along that has me immediately hooked from the minute I see the first piece of concept work. Firewatch is a mystery game set in the woodlands of Wyoming, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio. The game takes place in 1989, one year after the events of the devastating Yellowstone fires of 1988.  You play as a protagonist known only as Henry who has retreated from his previous life – which no doubt will be explained once the game is in your hands.

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Henry pictures an equipment container in near sight. Maybe something helpful?

You take up the role of a Firewatch Volunteer, in which you watch over a densely populated forest within the Wyoming wilderness. From atop of your isolated watch tower you keep lookout for smoke and anything that may endanger the environment around you. Within this secluded area of woodland your only form of contact with the world you’ve left behind is a woman named Delilah – whom is your supervisor and is always obtainable via handheld radio.

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Firewatch is a mystery game set in the woodlands of Wyoming, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio.

Everything seems pleasant within your surrounding thicket until something strange draws you out of your isolated comfort aloft the treetops. This curiosity catapults you into the unknown where you’ll find yourself asking questions and making certain choices and decisions that can have drastic effect on the only lifeline you hold dear with the outside world. You are able to use climbing ropes, axes and other objects that will give you certain abilities in order to help you traverse the landscape.

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You live amongst the tree tops in seclution in your very own lookout tower. Nothing could go wrong, right?…right?

This is Campo Santo‘s first major video game release, though the team is made up of an array of talents that have worked on titles such as BioShock II, The Cave, The Walking Dead: Season 1 (game) and many more. The game takes on a glorious, vivid and vibrant art style in which you experience in first person mode.

I first heard about the game through Marty Silvas article on IGN in which he states;

Firewatch sounds like a marriage of the original BioShock and Metroid Prime, minus the combat but doubling down on the narrative, dialogue, and environmental storytelling.

Sean Vanaman, co-founder of Campo Santo tells of how “The first BioShock still stands out to us. I’ll never forget hearing Atlas in my ear for the first time, and then seeing him for half a second near the sub, but at the same time, I always wanted to be to respond to him. But I never could”.Vanaman hopes to allow Henry to become more social than BioShock’s main protagonist and wants us to question our actions or anything that may be suspicious within Firewatch’s environment.

Anyone who can relate a title to that of BioShock, or take inspiration from my all time favourite game and relate to how the storytelling could be made more engaging for the player, is something that makes me all ears. Anyone who knows me understands the love I have for Irrational Games’ Bioshock, so when a game even shares the same sentence as it, I know it’s going to be onto something special.

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Your handheld radio is the only form of contact with the world you left behind.

The game is still early in development, although looking to release in 2015. “Nothing is final as of yet, as stated the game is still in early development so could be changed in many areas” Vanaman stated. The game at the minute will only be released on Windows, Mac and Linux. I really hope to see this come to console, especially PS4, and hope this is something that can be worked out before release.

I’ve watched and read up on so much of the game already. I feel like I’m at the point where I’d like to no nothing more until I can experience it for myself, the game is a mystery story after all and already has me interested and left wanting more. It’s no good if you’ve already cracked it before lacing up your Firewatch safety boots now is it!

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The game does not operate on a 24 hour night cycle but the time will change to match the narrative of the story as you progress.

A lot of Video games these days are publicised to the point in which we know every major and minor detail before we play and nothing is left to us as a player, nothing feels as special when playing a game first hand. Knowing very little about a game creates that atmosphere and giddy tension, which leaves you wanting to know more. It’s like watching a trailer of an upcoming film, thinking it looks amazing and then being left disappointed after seeing too much of the title beforehand.

I remember playing ‘Journey’ on the PS3 for the first time, not having any concept of what the game was and what I was meant to do, apart from knowing to head towards a mountain in the distance. Six hours later, time had passed me by without realisation and I was simply left in awe of the game. Firewatch is something in which I hope to hold the same experience with. Just recently, I wrote about “My most anticipated games of 2015” in which I had no idea about this title. If I’d known now what I did then this would of knocked Metal Gear Solid V off it’s pedestal and plonked it’s self straight at numero uno.

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As you can see the view is absolutely beautiful and the art style really captures that dry, hot, summer.

I really do advise you to read up further on the game if you haven’t already; it’s something that’s hard to explain at first, in which I’ve tried best to do so in this article. It really seems like one of them games that doesn’t come around very often. I could go on and on about how amazing I think it’s looking but I don’t think there’s a character limit big enough. I put writing other blog articles on hold just so I could write about this beautiful game. I advise you to do the same, It’s worth checking out their reveal trailer if you’d like a taster of what to expect. So go on, volunteer as a lookout today and check this mother out. You won’t regret it!

/ CR

My Most Anticipated Games of 2015

Well it seems that this year is set to be a brilliant one for Video games. A lot of fantastic titles are set to release within the next twelve months and I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about some many new and upcoming releases. So without further ado I’d like to list my most anticipated titles of 2015.

Due to there been so many games I’m going to pick my top five rather than try to list every one. Again this has seemed harder than I first thought due to the sheer number on my wish list for this year. As of now some of the games in my list may have been more anticipated than others at one point, but at this current date, my most wanted is as these top five stand

I don’t want to go into too much details about the games themselves, if you’re looking for info on them it’s probably best to read up on them after reading this blog. This is just my thoughts and reasons why they are MY most anticipated of the year. Hopefully I can keep it short and sweet.. (or not).

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#5  Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End


Ahh, Uncharted 4, back to the life of Nathan Drake. Uncharted: Drake Fortune was one of the best games I’ve ever played and got even better in Uncharted 2. The flow and of the story as well as the game its self is down right fun, the adventures you get sent on are always unforgettable and the action feels non stop. The pace of the games are incredible, it never seems to feel stale or boring, tying in puzzle segments and cinematic story events with cornered down dog fights. So another Uncharted title is always going to be on my list.

I love what I’ve seen of it so far and Drake and the game itself seem to take on a much darker and less humorous role as Drake takes on, more than likely his last adventure. I think this is a great turn for the series and hopefully we do see Drake take on a much more sinister role as opposed to his goofy persona shown in previous titles.

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#4  Tom Clancy’s: The Division


When this game was shown during Ubisoft’s E3 2013 press conference, it instantly became my most anticipated title on the next generation consoles. Since then a few more titles have taken my fancy and not much more has been shown about The Division, but it’s sure to shoot right back up my list once hype starts building again.

Traversing a disease ridden run down New York City with all of my friends in the open world third-person shooter, going against other teams of people playing online, really appeals to me. I can’t wait to see how this role-playing survival MMOG pans out. Hopefully it’s what I’m expecting and have envisioned in my mind. I’d like to see them put a lot of focus into the survival element of the game.

Having to scavenge for food, medical supplies, ammo etc. is something I’d like to see featured hugely in the game. If you were running around like a force to be reckoned with then what would the point of the survival element be? If I have to get through a bullet riddled war zone full of nasty surprises for a half an eaten chicken bone, just to keep my health up.. then please, sign me up. Fingers crossed Ubisoft execute this in an appealing way.

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#3  No Mans Sky


I’ve followed Hello Games since the start of the company back in 2009. I absolutely loved Joe Danger, the art style being somewhat of the main thing that drew me in. And since the first showing of No Man’s Sky the games industry were left picking their jaws off the ground, what’s not to love about the procedurally generated open universe that Sean Murray and the team are in the process of creating. The Art direction again is something that has just left me blown away.

Seeing a planet sat on the edge of the horizon and knowing you can jump in your spaceship and head straight for it, explore it and find what hidden wonder it may hold all at my own pace. Potentially has the biggest world/universe to ever appear in a game, but also holding similarities to Journey – in the sense that you don’t really know what to expect and the beautiful environments in the game. This is what games should be about, creating something new and exciting rather than regurgitating the same thing every year *cough* COD *cough*.

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Discover all sorts of different creatures and planets

I love the imagination and creativity that Murray oozes, when listening to him speak in interviews you can see the passion he holds for this title. With players being free to explore and upgrade their character and it’s starship in a never-ending universe that begs to be explored how could you turn up your nose at this one.

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#2  Star Wars: Battlefront


The nostalgia feels in this one is what shoots this right into the top-tier of my list. The Battlefront series is something that is very dear to me. I have a lot of very fond memories of playing hours on end with friends over local co-op against a series of bots. In them days, when online multiplayer was very rarely heard of that’s all you had. Personally I never had the chance to connect my PS2 to the internet and neither did I have any friends who’d done so either, so this was the best you could get and boy was it great!

It’s had a bumpy ride so far. After seeing the game being rumoured for years, it was finally announced before the door was slammed shut on any info once again. Then rumours came about that it’d be an MMO, then again another change of design and now it’s in DICE’s hands, personally, I think, looking better than ever after seeing the current in game engine being shown in the video below.

Early in game engine footage of BF:III

I really hope that the guys at DICE take their time with this latest instalment. I really do hope it’s not just a re-skin of battlefield with a star wars paint job. I’d love nothing more than to relive those infamous battles I had with my friends way back when, but this time at 1080p, at hopefully a locked 60fps and all online… *Begins to Drool*.

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#1  Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain


It seems that Hideo Kojima may have done it again. Now I don’t know if this is due to the nostalgic feels or down to the love I have for the Metal Gear Solid series and the legend that is Hideo Kojima but The Phantom Pain has had me hooked since seeing that breathtaking open world gameplay at E3 2013. Personally I think Metal Gear Solid is like a fine wine, it just gets better with age. Going from a side scroller, Metal Gear, to a living, breathing open world in MGS V. The story in itself is one of the best I’ve ever been part of and I always love finding out more about the characters and story of Metal Gear.

The Phantom Pain gameplay demo – Breathtaking. 

Ground Zeros just wet my appetite even more, I’ve sunk so many hours into that game and Kojima promises that The Phantom Pain will be 200 times bigger than GZ’s. Each time more information or a new trailer is shown I can’t explain the feeling it gives me. The latest trailer showcasing Metal Gear Online also seems to give the game even more of a reason to pick up.

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Choose the way you want to play – All guns blazing or stick to the shadows.

I think if you haven’t even delved into the series, firstly where on earth have you been hiding? secondly, do not miss this game! It starts earlier in the timeline so don’t worry about knowing too much of the story. The MGS series is something that you can play over and over at any part of the story and still find out new things you missed first time round.


So, that’s my most anticipated list of 2015. It was a tight one and may even change depending on what this year brings. A few titles that didn’t make the list but I still can’t wait for are The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Blood borne, Rainbow: Siege, Ratchet & Clank, The Elder Scrolls online, The Order: 1886, Evolve, Dying Light, Dead Island 2, Batman: Arkham Knight, Tearaway and many more. I really could be here all day. 2015 really is shaping up to be an amazing one.

/ CR

A new year, a new chapter, a new saved game.

I suppose I best introduce myself, I go by the name ‘CreativeRhino’ and this is the start of my new blog. So, another place where someone talks about video games. Just like the thousands of others that do it. So why should you use your precious time to sift through my blog posts? why am I the special one? The truth in the matter is, I’m not someone who thinks they are. Here at ‘WhatRhinoSaid’ isn’t somewhere that will spurt out the same old rubbish you may see everywhere else.

You won’t be seeing the 2,449,254th rendition of ‘Minecraft: Lets play part one’. No.. This blog is for myself, it’s views, points and opinions are of my own. I’m not here to do what every other tom, dick and harry is doing. Because what would be the point in that?

I love video games as much as the next man.. woman.. or thumb wielding, nocturnal, pixel junkie. I want somewhere to share my experiences, something to look back on in years to come and think wow I remember those times. Like a virtual diary of gaming nostalgia. I want it to be somewhere to talk about these points with people who may share similar views, whether they agree or not.

I want to use it as a pedestal to lavish the games I love.. and those I don’t. I want to share my view on the industry, my nostalgic throwbacks to the old days and what the future may hold for video games and throughout it all I want you to listen, experience and share it all with me.

So here’s how I want to start. The new year is here, 2015 is already upon us and a week of it has gone already. I have a lot of big plans for this year and one of them is to game my rear end off. The dexterity within my thumbs and fingers has not been taken advantage of as much as I’d of liked it to have been and my mind lacks the wondrous adventures it so desires.

The last year was a great one for me, I got the job I’d always wanted, lost weight, built up a portfolio of work through it all I’ve had such a supportive family, friends and girlfriend by my side but throughout the last year I’ve not found as much time as I would of liked for gaming due to this busy schedule.

We’ve seen a few big game delays in 2014 meaning the year ahead proves to be an even greater one for Video games. So this year I’d like to list a few game related resolutions I’d like to stick too, hoping by the time 2016 comes I’ve stuck to or completed all of them. Firstly..

Complete more games: I tend to pick up a lot of games at once and depending on how much I’m into them I’ll play continuously for days on end and then after a few days/weeks, depending on what life is throwing at me or if Ive picked up a new game, the old ones tends to get left in the past and I usually don’t get round to going back to them. This annoys me personally. I look at my shelf full of games stacked with titles I’ve barely even touched upon and think why do I bother buying new games without first completeing the old ones . Completing those games is something that needs to start this year, Which brings me to my next point.

Stop buying games I don’t need: I have a seriously bad habit of buying games and then just not playing them, due to either already having to many im already working on or not enough time to play them all now i don’t mean not playing as in; do a few missions, spend a few hours completeing various tasks in the game then never going back to it. No, I mean not playing them at all – the bloody shrink wrap doesn’t even come off! As of now i have thirteen games sat on my shelf which still remain in that shiny cellophane.. Thirteen!! And I’ve not touched them since I walked out the shop with them. Hopefully 2015 will put a stop to that.

Focus on my Most wanted List: Now this in a way contradicts my last two points. If I’m to keep up with the latest games, but have to stop buying them how will I experience them? Now I usually make the mistake of buying so many games in one go I just play bits of each and can’t keep up with them all. Other games come out, news releases hereand there and I just fall behind in the whirlwind of those virtual worlds and never get to finish any. So this year I want to just focus on my most wanted titles which will be covered in another post.

Clear my Backlog: probably one of the most dreaded words for any gamer to hear… Just glimpsing at the backlog I have in front of me sends shivers down my spine. So many games, so little time. Sometimes I feel like creating a cut off point, turning my back on all of it and starting afresh. But something makes me stick at those that already remain in my collection. Don’t get me wrong this may sound like I’m making it out to be a chore rather than something that’s fun. It’s not, but when you know that all the games will take hours and hours to complete, taking up time you could spend catching up with current releases it makes me quiver.

Stop becoming so hung up on Trophies: Ahh trophies, those virtual dings we hear when completing various tasks throughout a game, those shiny pieces of pixlated silverware that I long for along like so many others. Some may not care, others obsess over them. Well now If a game has a trophy list that may seem off putting, who cares. The time is hear to stop worrying about these sometimes mundane tasks and to start enjoying the game for what it is.

So there it is, a little intro to myself and some motive to continue into the new year itself. Hope everyone has had a great start and here’s to making 2015 a great one!

/ CR