In a Playstation.blog post from SCEE Blog Manager Fred Dutton yesterday, more info was given on what we can expect pertaining to discovery in this upcoming space adventure. No Man’s Sky is poised to deliver a universe so huge it borders on lunacy, all thanks to its procedurally generated planet building tech. 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets to be exact. That’s…that's a lot of planets. Adding on to that, your understanding of various languages (which we have no number on, but I’m guessing a butt ton) will now dictate how certain alien races feel about you, which can affect outcomes of all sorts of situations. This is yet another new dynamic added to the gameplay, parallel with the theme of having a seemingly infinite universe to explore. I'll be honest: it makes me question a lot of things.
First off, I completely agree that No Man’s Sky looks beautiful and will be a great new space adventure that I’m sure all sci-fi fans can appreciate. But the biggest fear I have is that there will become a point of diluting the experience by having too much to explore. I know it sounds crazy to put restrictions on the procedural sandbox concept, but at what point does the game sacrifice the sense of urgency you feel when you are actually personally invested? Some people like to trash on linearity in games, but I can say with conviction that the parts I enjoyed the most in any Final Fantasy game was surely not when I was grinding away for hours. Personal motive being absent seems to be a selling point from Hello Games, and I am cautiously optimistic. Maybe they have some seriously, SERIOUSLY cool stuff to stumble into that makes the very act of stumbling into things even more enjoyable than the kind of personal attachment you experience from something like Mass Effect.
I’ve watched the trailer they have on their website and it’s what I will include below. It looks gorgeous. The landscape evokes a sense of wonder and the ability to rocket from planet to planet looks seamless, which is a welcome removal from the loading screens you'd normally expect. There is also a war going on. Why are they fighting and why do we care to fight if there are no contained quest lines? Is there a goal to reach? Is it all journey and zero destination?
I’m impressed by the scale of exploration made possible by the procedural generation of planets. Whether or not I’ll be motivated to actually visit a lot of them is something I’m looking forward to finding out about for sure on June 21.