When I first saw the trailer for No Man’s Sky at the VGX Awards in December of 2013, I was absolutely hooked. “Every atom procedural,” it promised, “Every galaxy procedural,” “Every planet procedural,” “Every planet unexplored.” The art was ripped from the covers of my favorite science fiction novels. We were underwater, we were in space, and there were ships and creatures. If, when I was 10 years old, you would have asked me what the perfect video game would be, I would describe to you what the first trailer for No Man’s Sky presented to the world.
This is a game that allows players to discover things no one else has, and potentially no one else will. That’s powerful. Think about that for a minute. You can find something that no one else ever will. It’s your place, your secret, and no one else’s. As someone who’s “I got into video games because…” story is quite typical; that is, an escape from reality, from fighting parents and bullying and such, this is pure ecstasy. This gives purpose to the player; it makes them feel meaningful, worthwhile. All these thoughts and more entered my head within the first five minutes after I witnessed that VGX trailer.
Shortly thereafter, the game went dark. It wasn’t until E3 in June of 2014 that I saw the game again, although I must admit I spent countless hours daydreaming about it after VGX. We saw more footage of the game, this time showing dinosaurs and lots of space. It was also announced that the game would be console exclusive to Playstation 4.
No Man’s Sky stole the show at E3, and as a result, started getting much needed, and warranted, media attention. GameSpot filmed “The Next Big Game” video series on the game, there were interviews in Edge Magazine and Game Informer. I absorbed all of this content like a drug. I was hooked; this was my addiction. Through this, I was, and am, convinced that Sean Murray is the humble genius the gaming industry needs. He’s shy, he’s humble, he’s smart, funny, most importantly, he has a clear direction in mind for this game, and it’s a direction no developer has dared take. Sure, there are other sandbox, procedural, infinite games, but none like his. His ambition, and the ambition of the entire Hello Games team, has fueled my desire for this game even more. In an interview with Game Informer, Murray revealed that he and the team have created an entirely new periodic table of elements for the game. Has that ever been done before? Has that ever been considered? Such is the scope and ambition of No Man’s Sky, and if Hello Games can pull it off, gaming will be changed.
Flash forward to December of 2014 – The Game Awards, organized by Geoff Keighley. As excited as I was for the awards themselves, I was more so excited for the world premiers Keighley promised. And did he ever deliver. In addition to innumerous game announcements that had my eyes watering, Sean took the stage to show yet another trailer for No Man’s Sky, continuing the trend of showing off new creatures, new methods of traversal, and beautiful art – thanks to the amazing art team at Hello Games headed by Grant Duncan.
The day after The Game Awards was the Playstation Experience, a two-day public gaming show held in Las Vegas, and hosted by Playstation. This was one of the first truly, for the fans events outside of PAX. Here, Murray once again took the stage, this time revealing a trailer that specifically highlighted the incredible size of the game. Not even the developers know what lies on each planet; they’ve had to create millions of bots that fly to each planet and take footage, which is converted to GIFs, and viewed by the Hello Games team.
On the evening of the second and last day of the Playstation Experience, an event was hosted called “A Night Under No Man’s Sky.” It was livestreamed, and to be completely honest, nobody really knew what to expect. Needless to say, the event was spectacular. The band scoring No Man’s Sky, 65daysofstatic, took the stage to play brand new music from the game with brand new gameplay as a backdrop. It was revealed shortly thereafter that while there will be scripted musical moments throughout the game as well as an official soundtrack, the music in the game, like the game itself, is procedural. That means that while you’re discovering a new species of four-legged animal that no one else has ever seen, you’ll also be listening to music that no one has, or will ever, listen to. Incredible, isn’t it.
Hello Games has once again gone dark, with Mr. Murray not making any other public appearances until further notice. To me, that signifies the game is in the home stretch, and WILL indeed release in 2015 as per the announcement made at E3. Should Hello Games pull off even half of their ambition for No Man’s Sky, it will be a monumental game that will change the way other developers think and make games. Good luck!