‘No Man’s Sky’ Will Take 5 Billion Years To Fully Explore

Published 8 months ago by

No Man's Sky dinosaur

Developer Hello Games has made it clear from the start that the upcoming sci-fi game No Man’s Sky is going to be gigantic. Although the game is meant to be more about the journey than the destination, many completionist gamers out there are likely still going to be tempted to visit every exotic planet and distant star formation that the game has to offer. Although that sounds like a fun challenge, it turns out that unless you happen to be immortal, it’s pretty impossible to pull off.

The limited-time PS4 exclusive space exploration game (which will later arrive on PCs) uses procedurally generated worlds to create one of the largest video game environments that we’ve ever seen. The developers can’t really begin to explain exactly how many worlds exist within No Man’s Sky’s massive universe, but they did offer IGN an estimate as to how long it would take to visit every world in the game.

Hello Games co-founder, Sean Murray, explained that the development team started out using 32-bit numbers to generate the planets in the universe. Using the 32-bit formula, it would take somewhere between four and five thousand years to visit every planet in the game for just a one second stop on each. That sounds pretty massive to us, but the team wanted to go bigger.

By stepping the scale up to 64-bit numbers, the number of planets is increased roughly to 2 to the power of 64. That exponentially increases the scale of things and means that it would take roughly five billion years to visit each planet for one second. That may not be the traditional definition of infinite (as promised in the trailer), but it is likely closer than any other open-world came has come in the past.

No Mans Sky E3 2014 Trailer

As IGN pointed out, the Earth’s sun is due to burn out in 4.6 billion years, so even if you happen to be immortal, there doesn’t seem to be enough time left on our planet to reach every destination this game has to offer. Sorry, completionists, but we’re sure there will be other trophies to unlock.

The reveal of No Man’s Sky at VGX was one of the surprise showstoppers and the game’s follow-up trailer at E3 2014 was one of the most exciting assets we saw during the event. Although we don’t have a release date yet, Murray teased that the team will have “something big to share soon,” so hopefully a release date or more gameplay footage is on the way. Would it be too optimistic to hope for an early access alpha?

Do you think the massive size of No Man’s Sky is a big selling point or do you think it might be overkill? Let us know in the comments.


No Man’s Sky is coming to PC and PS4, but no release dates have been set.

Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.

Source: IGN


TAGS: Hello Games, No Man's Sky, PC, PS4


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  1. Now they just need a trophy to visit every planet in the game.

  2. Is Peter Molyneux secretly making this game? Jesus, this is gonna wind up the most ridiculously over-hyped game in ages.

    • Agreed, the game has potential, but to make it “Larger than Life” in a literal sense is just dumb.

  3. An official Facebook message stated 5 billion years was an error. It would in fact take 585 years.


    • Well, that’s more plausible for those who are afraid that if they try really hard they still won’t be able to see the entire game in 10 years worth of game time.

    • 585 billion, as the post says. Not just 585.

    • …oh, ok; that is quite sane then.

  4. IF this delivers what it has promised then this will likely be the only game I will ever want/need this gen.

    • …the only guarantee here is your disappointment.

  5. How many combinations of colors of planets and colors of dinosaurs can there be??

  6. Just because its bigger doesn’t mean that there will be more to do. Bigger doesn’t always mean denser. I think I few games have had that problem before.

    • If you look at how far our planets are together in scale, you’d realize how much empty space there is. I bet this huge number they are throwing out is including “exploring” all of this empty space as well…

  7. then why not stop developing and just put it out now

  8. Unbelievable. Just Unbelievable.

  9. It’s definately cool that a person will likely never see the same place twice, but to have no real quest mechanics to even get you going, or not be able to really have your friends not be able to join you, I’m not to fond of that. Is there even any back story on this game? I’ve seen some of the developer videos but it seems like it could go either way. Either fail or be a huge win. I under stand the concept that this game is completely up to you on how you play it, but there’s a reason why, imho, that most video games use some sort of quest system. Because they work.

    • Though quest systems are generally a good way to go, most of the best open world games thrive without them. The GTA series, for instance, has quests, but most people (myself included) don’t ever bother with them and still have hours upon hours of enjoyment. Skyrim is another game like that, where quests are there but aren’t necessary at all. And don’t forget the best sandbox game (in my opinion) out there right now, Minecraft. And minecraft has no quests or even a storyline.

      I see this as being the next minecraft, in a sense. Minecraft’s freedom and near endless opportunity and possibilities is what makes it so awesome, and it looks like this game will have that same feeling of freedom. I’m quite looking forward to it.

  10. I want to know where all that data is being stored. Sounds like a possible gimmick. You’ll probably get bored with it before exploring everything. That’s the real “infinite” factor.

    • The data isn’t being stored, it’s a procedurally generated universe.

  11. This looks like my kind of game… An Elite for the next gen consoles (now current gen of course) . I do agree with some of the comments on here… How many variations of “life” can there be..on each planet, for instance. But I think console users have been crying out for a game like this. Look how skyrim was received on the last gen platform… It too was a game filled with lots of exploring…. Ok, there were “goals” in the game and that is what will add to the longevity of No Man’s Sky. But, to produce a game this big the developers need congratulating. The skies the limit on ps4… In this case, No Man’s Sky

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