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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.