No Man’s Sky, the ambitious indie title from the four-person team at Joe Danger developer Hello Games, has gotten a lot of attention since its televised debut two years ago. That’s been fueled in part by its blockbuster reception at E3 2014 — it took home three awards, including Best Original Game — but also the game’s ambitious conceit. No Man’s Sky is by nature unpredictable, spanning a vast number of randomly generated systems, the makeup of which not even the developers can project. It’s a difficult idea to convey, but Hello Games founder Sean Murray did his best to show off the scale at Sony’s E3 conference Monday evening.
Murray began in a star system called Doulihota, “a boundary between two warring factions.” The unfolding space battle represented one of the game’s many choices, Murray said: you can fight for one side, the other, or remain neutral and flee. You’re likely to encounter other conflicts in your explorations, or different events entirely. Each system has a sun, “planet-sized planets” with ecology all their own, and inhabitants of all shapes and sizes. At one point during the demo, Murray zoomed out to the demonstrate the universe’s scale, and the effect was staggering — hundreds of solar systems representing thousands of planets populated the screen.
The center of the galaxy is “where we’re all trying to get,” Murray said, but self-directed exploration is highly encouraged. He showed a randomly generated alien world, Sugas-Uomi, filled with colorful wildlife and flora, observations of which can be uploaded to special planetary beacons scattered about worlds. No Man’s Sky has trading, fighting, survival, mining, multiplayer, and progression, Murray said, but it’s ultimately about the wonder of discovery. “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known,” he said.
Digital Trends got a first-hand look at No Many’s Sky earlier this year, and we came away incredibly impressed. As amazing as it seems, Hello Games appears to be well on its way to pulling off a game where every player’s story is one of endless possibilities — you can laser beasts into extinction, chart a course into toxic clouds, or discover the monolithic remnants of an advanced civilization. Murray promises your experience will never be the same as anyone else’s, or even the same twice.
No Man’s Sky is a timed PlayStation 4 exclusive, but lacks a concrete release date as of yet.