Can a universe full of choices make the average Traveller feel restricted?
From what we can gather so far, No Man’s Sky seems as close to a space simulator as any developer has ever come. But make no mistake, Sean Murray and Hello Games have made it clear from inception that No Man’s Sky is most definitely NOT a space simulator.
Nevertheless, this game is still massive. Unbelievably massive. I mean, when we first saw the map in Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto V for instance, I know all of our brains were melted by the possibilities of the gigantic playground of madness given to us. Some of us even looked that 500 plus hours of play time in the eye and completed it anyway (I’m looking at you, Beardman!).
And yet, the size of these massive games don’t hold a candle to No Man’s Sky.
So you buy in. You fork out the sixty bucks (or less if you’re a Wolf of Pre-Orders ;), you jump into that first moment on your first planet in your first solar system on a planet-sized planet and begin to realize… “Damn, I could spend a lot of time here.” And you end up spending twice as much time in your first solar system than you thought. In my opinion, that’s not really something that worries me. If anything, now it feels like the game has given me more in its value than I expected. Score!
As we come closer and closer to the event horizon, whenever that may be, the thought keeps getting passed around the comment threads and exclusive interviews… What if No Man’s Sky is too big? A universe above our heads looks pretty intimidating the first time! Is my time playing this game going to end up like my time that I waste in my real life? Will I cruise around a planet with indecision, wasting gas until I surrender to “mining” for inspiration in my cave? I know I tend to let my thoughts get a little too far ahead of me, but if anybody knows anything about first-world problems like wondering if a video game is going to be awesome, it’s definitely this guy… You can’t see but, I am pointing to myself.
And maybe that’s something we should remember! While attention on the gaming world is at an all-time high, and E3 just around the corner, it’s easy to get caught up in judging 2016’s finest. We forget that through choice or no, we find ourselves in a world that offers the human imagination incarnate. In a world of 3D printers and Life of Pi tigers (seriously, the thing gave me nightmares), we find ourselves in the crosswinds between what amazing things we can create with our technology and the growth of gaming on the pop culture scene. Some of the greatest artists, producers, and futurists have stood in line to sample the imagination and the dream of Sean Murray’s new universe that he’s created just for us. Why?… Oh, just to play around in.
By this point, you’re probably feeling as though No Man’s Sky may go the way of The Last Guardian (But don’t forget! That one’s coming out too!). And who could blame you?! We’ve been hearing about this game for two years now. And how lucky we’ve been to see this concept grow before our very eyes. The story of a small development team going all in and making the most massive video game that has ever been made?! I can feel a Spielberg-commissioned, big-budget film director storyboarding as we speak. Plus, the death threats. Then again, nothing is really compelling about the oldest form of spam in history. Of course, I’m referring to the death threats.
Seriously, whomever writes a death threat over a video game’s release ( or ANYTHING) should suck a tree trunk. Then at least they’d be living honestly about our oxygen they’re wasting.
Even if No Man’s Sky falls short of its expectations, we’ve now realized the possibilities. And when the time comes, when No Man’s Sky becomes hack or household name, we will have even bigger, bolder choices to make because at the very least, Sean Murray and Hello Games have raised the bar for what we can expect from the minds of gaming and other art forms in the next ten years. And what perfect timing… The spotlight’s on you, gamers! Just, no more death threats please. They’re regressive to the love that gamers share in the value of friendship, camaraderie, and that antsy thing your fingers do when they’ve been away from the controller too long.
As for me, I think there can never be too many choices. No Man’s Sky gives you almost as many choices as you have in your own life, which I think is the scary part. I mean, look at the world and the choices we’re making here! But the more choices you give yourself, the more opportunities will present themselves. And as a fellow Traveller of the Universe, it’s best to stay present for opportunity.
Yours for the voyage,
Traveller and Internationally Certified Field Reporter Andrew Campbell