On August 9, 2016 HelloGames will introduce our World to a Universe of seemingly infinite Worlds and possibilities when they release No Man’s Sky. In fact the subtext on No Man’s Sky’s website is labeling the game as a Science-Fiction game set in a procedurally generated galaxy. This tag line makes me immediately think of Klei Entertainment’s Don’t Starve, a game in which you explore, fight, build/craft and most importantly survive. But I’m not here to discuss gameplay and mechanics. I’m not here to discuss No Man’s Sky’s graphics or how they remind me of the simple yet intimate designs and color palettes of both Ustwo’s Monument Valley and ThatGameCompany’s Journey. I’m not even here to discuss the story, whatever that may be. I haven’t looked into it because I want that to be a surprise. On August 9, 2016 we’ll embark on a hopefully epic journey “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” I’m here to discus, ponder, wonder, question and think of the “what ifs” that I’m hoping No Man’s Sky will pose.
One day while out riding around a lake I stopped to soak in my surroundings. The air was still yet held the boiling anger of the days heat at bay. The sky was a clear pale blue. The birds that were chirping had stopped. The moon looked down upon me and smiled fully. And there I stood in a valley, in the middle of nowhere, in my go to place of escape where I find comfort in the humbling silence of the world and the reality of the world hit me. My breath was taken from me. The world I knew fell away and all I saw and all I was, was in that moment was fear and hope. Afraid that I was lost even though I knew exactly where I was. And hopeful that even if I was lost I’d find my way home.
This is a type of experience that I hope No Man’s Sky touches upon. Will we be the weary lost space traveller trying to find his way home? Or will we already be home only to discover that we destroyed it like George Taylor from the 1968 movie Planet of the Apes?
Not long ago a friend of mine lost his father. Like most things in life death also comes unexpectedly. So as I was catching up with him we were over looking the City we grew up in and from where we were standing we could see the silhouette of a ridge of hills and behind that a faint glow. I pointed out the glow and I said that most likely that glow was the product of another City’s lights miles away. Everyone will go from City to City and not pay attention to much else other than the destination but what about the in between? What about that dark space between two points of life, two beacons of hope? In between those two points lay the unknown, fear, loneliness and possible death. What would happen if these two cities were destroyed? All we would have is whatever’s out there in the unknown. Making our way through the darkness all we have is ourselves.
I have chills just thinking about it. Jumping out of hyperspace right into the middle of a Waring Alien Armada and you just soiled your pants. You have one of two choices: 1) fly away as fast as you can or 2) die. You’re going to die alone and you better hope your cargo isn’t precious.
The child in me hopes that No Man’s Sky is my answer to Bill Watterson allowing his genius comic Calvin & Hobbes to be used. If you aren’t following my reference I would highly suggest picking up a collection of Calvin & Hobbes at your local book store. Calvin is a young boy with a wild imagination. He’s beyond creative and one of the characters that young Calvin creates is a hero by the name of Spaceman Spiff. Check out the sample below:
If you enjoyed that you can enjoy more here. But you can be damned sure when I jump into my spaceship for the first time or I’m breaking through the atmosphere on an undiscovered planet I’ll be doing it in the honor of Spaceman Spiff.
These are the types of experiences that we can hope for in a game like No Man’s Sky. Like I mentioned earlier I’m not sure what the story is because I want it to be a surprise. If there’s no story at all and the game plays so well that it allows my imagination to run wild I’ll still be happy. With every new planet I discover I’ll be able to create my own stories and adventures and hopefully I’ll be able to share them with you. I hope you’re along for the ride. I hope you’re in a ship yourself discovering a new planet or new life form. And if the game doesn’t deliver and all we do is spend our time trying to satiate The Atlas’s need for knowledge at least it’s better than trying to survive HAL 9000 trying to kill us.