Unless you have been hiding under a rock you have probably heard of Hello Games' No Man's Sky (releases August 9th), the space exploration game built through procedural generation. Managing director Sean Murray has been all over the internet for the past two years promoting the game, and it has been hyped by fans as "the last game you'll ever play." Let's evaluate that statement.
No Man's Sky is a game in which the game uses a formula to generate everything from the stars and planets to the animals and grass, and the game generates 18 quintillion planets. As the player you can participate in the game's four main facets: exploration, survival, combat, and trading. Murray says players could focus entirely on one of these facets, such as staying on one planet, and seeing how long they could survive. However, the developers at Hello Games think people will dip their toes in all four pillars of this epic game.
How you play the game also hinges on which aspect of your character you choose to upgrade: suit, weapon, or ship. Each one of these has a myriad of "technologies" for you to install and employ in your quest. Survival and resources are an integral part of the game without which you can die or be stranded.
Different species of animals and plants are often unique to the single planet they appear on, and finding those organisms is a your own personal experience. In a demo with Polygon, Murray interacted with an alien race, and he says as your encounter a race multiple times you learn their language. This will help you with trade and upgrading technology throughout your journey through the galaxy.
You can of course destroy those relationships by destroying worlds and races as you see fit. According to Murray, combat is a necessary part of the game whether you want to fight or not because while exploring you will eventually encounter an unfriendly species of animal or make the world-guarding Sentinel robots angry.
But can all of these keep you entertained for hours upon hours? Murray has repeatedly said the "end goal" for players should be to reach the center of the galaxy, and that should take hundreds of hours. However, an individual, Redditor Daymeeuhn, was able to purchase the game early for about $1,300 last week, and he leaked some hype-crushing info. First of all instead of hundreds of hours, he reached the center of the galaxy in about 30 hours. He does add the caveat that he was about to exploit a game breaking flaw. He found an item that sells for extremely high values in the galactic market which he used to purchase warp drive upgrades.
With all of the news, hype, and spoilers surrounding No Man's Sky, I would approach this game with tempered curiosity. I'm a sucker for exploring space, but this game currently has a similar trajectory as Spore. It received much of the same hype, and after launch the game deflated. I wish the best for Hello Games, because I honestly want the game to be fantastic, but I'm cautious. Like all gamers at some point in there life, I've been burned by expectations before. If you pick up No Man's Sky, let us know what you think either in the comments, over on our Twitter @Nerd_901, or on our Nerd 901 Facebook page.