six secrets of No Man’s Sky

Six secrets of No Man’s Sky

Words: Richard Jordan 

Games developer Sean Murray has remained stubbornly tight-lipped about the details of the much-anticipated space exploration epic, No Man’s Sky. The Red Bulletin sat down with him to prise out a few key nuggets of information…

1. It’s an optimistic science-fiction experience

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“Dystopian sci-fis set in these post-apocalyptic worlds are on trend right now, but No Man’s Sky is bright and colourful. It’s a very Star Trek view of the world. Nowadays, if you see a scientist working on something at the start of a film you instantly know something’s going to go wrong. It’s given that he’s dead and the monkey he’s testing is going to wipe out the planet because that’s how we view science right now. But it hasn’t always been like that. In the 1960s when the great space race was on, science was seen as this uplifting thing. Everyone thought the human race is going to be in this amazing place by 2020; that we’d all have flying cars…”

2. There’s no conventional narrative

six secrets of No Man’s Sky

“There’s definitely a lore to the game but there isn’t a story. There won’t be an opening cut scene where someone breaks you out of prison, hands you a gun and says, “Come on Tex the zombies are back.” You create your own story.”

3. There are lots of surprises in store

six secrets of No Man’s Sky

“Watching No Man’s Sky has made me think a lot about why people play video games. Some people play them for stories; some do it for the missions, quests, collectibles or coins. What amazes me is people want to know everything about a game before it comes out. We are so used to seeing games like Watchdogs coming out and we’ve already seen 16 videos telling us everything about it. People ask me are there black holes in No Man’s Sky, but even by telling them there are I’ve ruined that moment when you come across one in the game and go, “Wow, that’s a black hole!” The more I tell you, the more I take away from the game. I don’t think people really want to know – they’re just excited about the game.”

4. There’s a big focus on community

“When people are playing the game we want them to feel like they are not alone. They’ll see other ships going by whether they are AI or not, interact with a global economy and see these living breathing worlds play out in front of them. I hope we are building a game people will want to create wikis for or be on reddit. If we can have people exploring it together and figuring it out I would really like that.”

5. There are 18 quintillion planets to explore, but no two are the same

six secrets of No Man’s Sky

“Repetition is always something you fight against. We look for patterns that people will spot and get tired of. Most of our planets are pretty boring but that’s the reality of our galaxy and what makes exploration so much fun. You get a real kick finding something that is a bit more interesting. There are desert planets and moons without atmospheres… You could land on a barren world that might not be that interesting geographically but it might have resources you want or a shop where you can buy cool stuff.

“It would be meaningless if people were to land on every planet and there would be loads of life and dinosaurs roaming around. It has to be unpredictable. The team even made some of the animals rideable without telling me. I was walking round and trying to get into my ship and suddenly I’m on the back of this hippo trying to control it. That hippo has been immortalised for me!”

6. The finished product will look and play exactly like the trailers

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“Most companies spend millions on these spectacular motion capture sequences [to promote their games], whereas we’ve just thrown straight gameplay captures out there. At [gaming show] E3 every other title had a few million spent on its trailer, but for ours it was just me playing the game. If people are excited by that then they are excited by the game.

“Hype is when you build something up to a level of excitement that nothing will satisfy. It can become a monster. Developers will deliver an OK game but they’ve hyped it too much and it gets slated. They’ve only themselves to blame for that. For us, we always just show the game. We want people to excited about it but we want excitement, not hype, so what we show has to be accurate.”

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11 2015

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