Hello Game’s E3 reveal of No Man’s Sky last year was what convinced me to jump on the next-gen train, so to speak. We had seen some prettier versions of worn franchises like Killzone and Infamous (well, the latter was not so much worn as disappointing in it’s PS4 iteration) on Sony’s new hardware, but nothing as unique as No Man’s Sky. This is funny in retrospect, because we knew next to nothing besides the fact that there was a super-secret space magic algorithm that allowed the procedural generation of an entire universe. Much of what we knew was really what we wanted.
They spoke of space combat. Our minds went to intergalactic war with fifty players onscreen at once engaging in mind-boggling dogfights.
Much to everyone’s surprise, we didn’t see too much more of No Man’s Sky on the stage this year at E3, other than a few minutes of vague gameplay similar to what has already been shown publicly by Hello Games. This was odd to me, for a game that Sony is claiming to be putting it’s full weight behind. We will come back to that later. But for those lucky enough to have played it behind closed doors, information that has trickled out from E3 has given us a much better picture of what is going on in this game.
Essentially, the game looks to be Minecraft in space, at least in terms of progression. The player’s weapon will double as a device with which various resources can be mined from the environment, organisms, structures, etc. These resources can be sold or used in crafting, both leading to better gear. That gear allows further exploration. Hello Games has talked of three primary styles of play: trader, explorer, and fighter. Whether you are discovering new species of fish, selling rare ores, or plundering trade ships, everything you do seems to build up “credits”, which not only can buy new gear but can upgrade existing gear. A good example would be a hyper drive for your ship.
Be careful though, because it looks like there will be a bunch of tree huggers out for blood should you interfere too much with mother nature in your pursuit of riches. Tree huggers in Imperial Walkers, that is:
I’ve linked below some hands-on accounts of this game and man does it sound awesome. It definitely does not sound like the grandiose, swashbuckling space opera we imagined, but more of an experience rooted in gameplay rather than production values. I’m more than fine with that.
But, coming back to the small public presence at E3, I am worried. As we’ve recently reported, the PC version has been reconfirmed to be launching alongside the PS4 version, but as to the exact date all we have to to go on are rumors from earlier this year that the game will launch in Q3 2015 (July-September). That’s a rapidly approaching window.
Now, for such a small studio, such an ambitious project can be expected to take time. But if the game isn’t ready for a late summer launch, would they risk launching in the holiday season against such heavyweights as Fallout 4 and Halo 5, or further delay the game to give it space to breath? Hello Games has been playing it pretty close to the chest with this one, and seeing very little (if any) of this game for another 6-12 months is not an enticing proposition. On the other hand, Sony had some heavy hitters in the press conference, and there may have simply been no time. But it still begs the question of when this game will be on a show floor for the public to play.
While we wait, check out the raw gameplay footage below (no commentary, courtesy of Cobra TV). It’s a lot of what we’ve already seen, but without Sean Murray narrating, one can get a better feel for how it will play.