With us rapidly barrelling through the year and heading closer towards the release date for space exploration/never-ending abyss, No Man's Sky, it reminded me of something I have been thinking about for a long time in regards to this game. The question as to whether there is much point playing a game which just seems so overwhelming large.
While scouring the internet for fun things to pass the time I came across a fairly old article mentioning that the developers of No Man’s Sky, Hello Games, believe that 99% of the planets in the game won’t be explored. This is a very big statement to make, and if it was any other run-of-the-mill open world game it would suggest that we weren’t playing it right or the developers have a put in a lot of superfluous content. We know, however, that No Man’s Sky is something completely different to everything we have seen before it and this is what makes this statement so intriguing.
Many people, myself included, have made the comment of, well if that much of the game will go unexplored then what is the point in playing? What is the point in having a game with such a vast scale that the majority of it will go untouched and unseen on your play through?
There has been a fair amount of mystery surrounding this game release, with it first due to be available in June, now to be released on August 9th, we still haven’t seen a great deal of footage or information other than a few basics. Many people are still asking the question; What are the objectives? I love RPGs and open world games if they are done right. There is something about being able to poke around and explore a seemingly endless environment with danger at every turn. However, these games which I love to play have always had missions and an end point. They have a story which keeps everything together and when you get a little bit bored of wandering the wilderness you can get back to some sort of civilisation and carry on saving the world. No Man's Sky offers the chance to explore space, the ultimate goal being to reach the centre of the universe. Other than this, I guess the objective is explore, explore, explore. I’m not sure how I feel, or how I will cope, in a world that I can perpetually explore with the only goal being discovery. It all just feels a little daunting.
I do have a feeling however, that we have been given all the information we need to make a purchase decision about No Man’s Sky. It is an exploration game with a procedurally generated environment giving us an endless number of planets and space to uncover. Those people hoping for more information on objectives are perhaps going to be disappointed when there aren't many. This fact could mean that gameplay, after a time could become tedious and monotonous. This could also be said for other open world games though right? The endless fetch quests and time spent wandering about trying to level up your character to take on the next boss can also be tedious and make you want to turn off the console, No Man’s Sky might not be any different in that respect.
I believe what will make this game different and the thing that may perhaps stop it from turning into a chore is the fact that everyone who plays it will discover different things. This is a big discussion point for those who will be playing it, as one individual will play it in a different way to the next. It is a game which will get people talking and connecting, there won’t be YouTube video walkthroughs to help you when you get stuck because the chances of someone else being in the exact same place as you are really slim. You can also name the creatures and places you come across, so one person’s giraffe could be someone else’s elephant, there will be an ongoing list of more ridiculous names as players progress and uncover one marvellous thing after the next.
As a concept No Man’s Sky is certainly intriguing, I’m still unsure as to whether personally I would enjoy this game. I really like the idea of it, but I feel that for me it might just be a little big with not enough focus. I don’t know, like many others, how I feel about playing a game without a clear goal set out in front of me. This is possibly due to the fact there hasn’t been anything remotely similar to No Man’s Sky to play, and if it is as successful as Hello Games are hoping it will be perhaps we will see more. Despite this, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be any good and I would encourage those thinking about it to crack on regardless. I might wait for a few reviews before splashing £40 on this game, but if they are promising then I will probably grab my spacesuit and see you all there.