August 9th is the release date for a game that I’ve been obsessed with for the past few months. I’ve watched video after video, read every article I could find, listened to every interview with Sean Murray (the managing director at Hello Games), researched the Wikipedia page, sold my Xbox One, bought a PS4, preordered the digital version of the game, and even changed the header of my site to the cover art.
There’s no story to follow in this game. You create your own story. Go as you please, and do whatever you want. No Man’s Sky has 18 quintillion planets (!), all with their own types of environments: from sandy planets, to ones with trees, to ones that are just water, to ones that are freezing and require a special suit to survive the temperature there, to ones that have animals (or things that look like animals), some animals will walk past you, minding their own business, while others will try to eat you. And if I had infinite amount of time to play a video game, I could visit each one of these planets.
The story is mine: it’s just me, my suit (constantly being upgraded to withstand temperature changes and planets that aren’t safe), my multi-tool (for mining and collecting resources, and protecting myself from aliens and enemies) and my spaceship (which also is always being upgraded with stronger weapons, holding more cargo, and capable of traveling further through space). With these few things in my possession, for the first time in my life, I am a pilot, traveling and exploring the universe.
The goal of No Man’s Sky is to travel and get to the center of the universe. It sounds simple, but you can’t just fly straight there. Your ship wouldn’t have enough fuel or armor to make it that far. So you have to land on a planet and gather resources. But even that isn’t just as simple as gathering resources: First, there’s multiple minerals or plants that would have to be combined to create, for this example, fuel. There’s no gas station to stop at and fuel up. Second, you can’t just land on a planet and start stealing all of its resources. There’s Sentinels (drones that police the planet) on patrol, waiting for someone that is harming the life-form living there or taking advantage of its unique resources. Third, there’s no telling what the climate will be like on each planet. If it’s too cold when you arrive, and the suit you’re wearing can’t handle that temperature, then you’d better find the nearest cave to warm up in.
As you can see, there’s layers and layers of strategy needed to get to the center of the universe. I look forward to spending hours getting there, and enjoying the process and discoveries along the way.