With Hello Games’ space exploration title No Man’s Sky finally given a release date of June 21, one Game Rant writer explains why they are looking forward to the game.
It’s been a long time coming, but there have finally been some finite details revealed about the launch of No Man’s Sky. For one thing, the procedurally-generated, space travel-themed title from developer Hello Games has been given a release date, with the game set to launch on June 21 in North America, and June 24 in Europe. It’s a relief for those patiently awaiting the release of the game, as they now have a date to put in their calendars.
When No Man’s Sky first appeared at VGX 2013, it immediately caught the attention of the gaming community. In spite of a huge number of projects on the cards from established developers, it was this title from a relatively unknown studio that really stayed in focus for a number of gamers. Hello Games had a wonderful concept, and it was this central idea of seemingly limitless space exploration that made No Man’s Sky a game to look out for.
All this led to No Man’s Sky taking a place at the top table of PS4 games. In spite of Hello Games’ fledgling place in the highest echelons of game development, the project was being watched very closely, with every delay to the title being scrutinized. When all was said and done, No Man’s Sky ended up as one of the most anticipated games of 2016.
Some have remained sceptical over the game’s potential quality, explaining that there has still been very little on show regarding exactly how the game will function. However, there’s one very simple reason that No Man’s Sky has remained so highly thought of, and that’s down to the title’s sheer ambition. This single ideal is so many have faith that Hello Games will follow through on the game’s initial promise.
Somewhere, there is the genuine belief that No Man’s Sky is going to deliver something wonderfully unique to the world of video games. The direction Hello Games has taken with the project is refreshing, and in the end it all comes down to a simple change of scope in comparison to most science fiction games. At the moment, No Man’s Sky’s focus on discovery is a different set up to the vast majority of sci-fi games on the market.
One of the biggest frustrations of science fiction gaming is the lack of freedom and exploration given, even within games with scopes galaxies wide. Although the player is often given settings that span millions of miles, the user is rarely given even a fraction of the potential worlds to actually explore, instead being given a pre-defined path to follow. Space-faring games should offer movement on the X, Y, and Z axis, but all too often sci-fi games feel overwhelmingly two dimensional.
Even some of the best science fiction games available fall into restrictive patterns of play or exploration. The Mass Effect trilogy delivered possibly the best space opera written specifically for gaming, yet beyond the first game direct exploration of planets was not possible, and the series’ predecessor Knights of the Old Republic had similar issues. Meanwhile, FTL: Faster Than Light may emulate the feeling of Star Trek-esque space battles better than most games on the market, but does not bring any of the iconic show’s mission statement to the table.
It’s only recently that games have been able to scratch the surface of what true space exploration in gaming could entail. Both EVE Online and Elite: Dangerous offer up expansive in-game universes, but there is still a sense of detachment from a real sense of exploration. However, it seems as though No Man’s Sky is set to tap in to this feeling of adventure in a fantastic way.
At its core, No Man’s Sky seems to be a very different beast from many of its counterparts, with an overwhelming focus on life amongst a universe that will take players 5 billion years to explore. Whilst most video game universes feel cold and devoid of other living things, Hello Games is building a game that is overflowing with strange creatures to discover. In fact, the search for new alien life appears to be one of the main modes of play.
No Man’s Sky is going to include an “intergalactic Pokedex” that keeps track of the different flora and fauna that the player has discovered throughout their journey. What this means regarding the overall gameplay remains to be seen, but gameplay demos of the title show that not only is life hugely important, but that the player’s interactions with other life forms will affect their standing the universe itself.
For starters, attacking creatures found on planets can attract the attention of Sentinels, a race of self-replicating robots who will take on the player if it deems them to be a threat. However, it also seems as though other kinds of less violent interaction will also be available. Players can learn alien languages by traveling the galaxy, and therefore then communicate with the variety of races they discover on their travels.
This leads to other positives for the player, too. Hello Games has confirmed that No Man’s Sky will have an economy and trading system of its own, and as the player learns more foreign dialects, they will be able to make use of this to improve their overall ability in the game itself. It’s these kind of design choices that are exciting, and the potential for these to be implemented well help separate No Man’s Sky from the army of other adventure and survival titles that have hit the market over recent years.
Therefore, there are signs that the small development team at Hello Games will deliver a vital level of polish for No Man’s Sky. Both in terms of theme and graphical style, the title seems to be aiming to deliver something fresh. Even in terms of sound design, Hello Games seems to have made a pitch-perfect choice, with electronic post-rock band 65daysofstatic recording the game’s soundtrack, fresh from a hugely successful re-scoring of underrated 70s sci-fi movie Silent Running.
That’s not to say that No Man’s Sky is immediately deserving of an army of fans willing to fork over $150 for the game’s collector’s edition, however. In fact, it’s far removed from that point, particularly due to some justifiable concerns that not quite enough has been seen of how the game will function. It’s certainly worth holding fire on any pre-orders until Hello Games has granted the gaming community more details on gameplay and focus.
Even so, No Man’s Sky is an extremely exciting project. When the game was revealed, there was a sense that the title may just deliver on the dreams of what the future of video games might hold. Although there’s every chance that the game may fall short of this lofty ideal, it’s still incredibly hard not to get a feeling of excitement about just what it may bring to the world of gaming.
No Man’s Sky will be released for PC and PS4 on June 21, 2016.