No Man’s Sky released to a decidedly lukewarm reception earlier this year, with critics pointing out the game’s repetitiveness, lack of content, and somewhat homogeneous procedurally generated worlds. Boundless, produced by developer Wonderstruck, coming soon to PC and PlayStation 4, looks like it could deliver much of what fans were expecting when No Man’s Sky released in August.
Unlike the solo adventures of No Man’s Sky, Boundless takes place in a single, online universe described by developer Wonderstruck as a “huge graph.” Worlds begin as unsettled regions that must be developed by individual players.
“Claim a plot of land to build and protect your first home. Then gather together in a guild to claim enough land to construct a city,” said director James Austin on the PlayStation Blog. “If your city is the most prestigious on the planet then you claim the title of its capital and rule the world.”
The goal of the game, however, is not just to rule an individual planet, but to reign over the entire universe. Players can even dictate the economics of the world — unlike the AI-controlled shops of No Man’s Sky, every shop in Boundless is created and stocked by another player.
Planets in Boundless appear to have the bright, varied color palettes we’ve come to expect from science fiction, but individual components bear more resemblance to Minecraft than anything else, with cube-shaped structures and wildlife that appear almost like plastic action figures. The sky-boxes on display, which show off beautiful planets in the distance, are not just for show. Any planet you see can be traveled to, and once you’ve visited it, you can place a Totem there to create a link capable of instantly transporting you back.
In addition to predatory creatures, you’ll also run into “impossibly huge” enemies known as “Titans.” These behemoths must be climbed by multiple players in order to be defeated, almost like a multiplayer Shadow of the Colossus. Get some friends — you’re going to need the help.
Boundless is currently available in Steam Early Access, and will see its full launch on PC and PlayStation 4 in 2017.