The founder of the indie game studio responsible for No Man’s Sky creation, Sean Murray, had wanted to create a game that captured the sense of exploration. The game was developed over 3 years by a small team at Hello Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Gameplay and Updates
No Man’s Sky is an action-adventure survival game that allows players to engage in four activities:
You take a role of a specimen of alien humanoid planetary explorer, known as the Traveller in-game. You start on a random planet near a crashed spacecraft at the edge of the galaxy. However, all you have is a jetpack, a “multitool” that you can use for scanning, mining and refueling the craft.
The main feature of No Man’s Sky is that all parts of the galaxy, including planets, stars, aliens are procedurally generated using deterministic algorithms. This 64-bit value leads to creating of over 18 quintillion planets to explore in-game, which is pretty amazing if you ask me.
Through exploration, you are rewarded with “units” that act as a kind of currency. The objective of the game is to explore planets, alien bases, flora, and fauna within these planets. In addition, if you’re the first to discover anything, you can earn bonus units by uploading information about your discovery to the Atlas. No Man’s Sky has an offline mode, but the usage of Atlas requires online connectivity.
An update released in November 2016, also called the “Foundation Update”, added a feature of allowing the player to set a “home planet” and construct a base there from collected resources.
The plot of No Man’s Sky
You (the Traveller) wake up on a remote planet near the crashed spacecraft. Upon waking up, you receive a message from an entity called “The Atlas” and offers it’s guidance and directs you to make the required repairs to the spacecraft and collect the resources necessary to fuel it. However, while collecting the necessary materials, you meet members of 3 alien species, the Gek, the Korvax and the Vy’keen.
As you move towards the other systems, you’re alerted to the presence of an anomaly in the nearby system. There you find a special space station where two aliens await you. Priest Entity Nada and Specialist Polo. They have knowledge beyond what other aliens in the galaxy appear to have.
Ultimately, you reach the galaxy’s centre, finding another Atlas Interface. You present it with Atlas Stones you’ve obtained, upon which the Atlas creates a new solar system with a star. In addition, the Atlas Interface creates a new Traveller to restart the exploration. Now, from your point of view, the game is reset and the exploration can begin again.