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Interview: Why you’ll want to explore the vast galaxy of No Man’s Sky on PS4

More details on Hello Games’ incredible PS4 sci-fi epic

When Sean Murray, Managing Director of Hello Games, stepped onto the PlayStation stage at E3 2014, No Man’s Sky rocketed from ambitious indie curiosity to the most talked about game of the year within minutes. Fast forward to gamescom a few months later, and while No Man’s Sky has a more low-key presence, the enigmatic sci-fi exploration game is still one of the hottest properties in gaming.

The promise of No Man’s Sky’s procedurally generated galaxy and its feeling of boldly going where no man has gone before has enchanted gamers. Did they have any idea it would blow up like this? “Not at all!” says Sean. “It’s great that people are so interested, but all I can allow myself to think about at the moment is the game. Right now, all anyone has to go on is potential. We want to realise that potential, but what that comes down to is us tapping away at our keyboards like we always have done.”

Sean recently revealed on PlayStation Blog that to see every planet in No Man’s Sky for just one second would take 585 billion years; but the question that still remains on every would-be explorer’s lips is “why?” – what will make us want to venture into the vastness of space?

AlpineFly

“There’s really two answers to that,” Sean explains. “The short answer is ‘you make your own story’. I think it’s nice to play something that frees you from missions and quests. “But there’s a longer answer. There are core concepts that will drive the player on: you’ll start on the edge of space, on a totally unique planet and you’ll make your way towards the centre of the galaxy – there’s a reason to do that, but we’re not ready to talk about it yet. As you get further in to the galaxy, things will get more dangerous… but also more interesting and rewarding.”

Even the most intrepid explorers will have humble beginnings: “You’ll have a basic ship that you’ll need to upgrade if you want to get further than the solar system you’re in,” Sean says. “For example, interstellar travel needs a hyperdrive, so you’ll have to earn money to buy one. Or you can upgrade your weapons or your suit so you can explore in different atmospheres or go underwater.”

How you earn money is entirely up to you. As Sean tells me, there’s going to be no hand-holding: “We’re not going to give you missions. No-one is going to come to you and say ‘I’ve lost five chickens, they’re scattered around this planet somewhere’. We want you to get out and learn about the galaxy to work it out for yourself. There are different roles you could play; you could be an explorer, a trader, a pirate looking for trade routes to plunder – or you could protect other ships from pirates.”

Diplo

Despite the incredible amount of planets available to visit, there will be a reason to explore each of them. “Something we haven’t shown yet is a mini-map at the bottom of the screen that will have waypoints marked on it for every planet you visit. They’ll show things of interest, which might be resources, or a ship that’s crashed, or some sort of beacon. It could be something to discover like a new species of creature, a mountain range or a vast lake. But you’ll have to go and find out what they are; we’re not going to tell you what’s out there. And that’s a great way to earn money to buy the upgrades for your ship or suit – and in turn that’ll help you explore even more.”

As well as earning money from exploration, Sean says another reward will be putting your mark on the galaxy as the first person to discover planets: “If you’re the very first person to play the game, you’ll open up your galactic map and you can zoom in on every planet or solar system – and every single one will say ‘unexplored’. And they’ll say that until someone discovers them and uploads that information for everyone else to see.”

With so much space to discover, Sean explains that while every player will inhabit the same galaxy, crossing paths will be rare. “I don’t want people to think that it’s an MMO. You’ll see traces of other players and what they’ve discovered, so you won’t feel alone, but if you and I were playing and I said ‘come and meet me on my planet’, I might be days or weeks away from you. Even if we were on the same planet and wanted to meet up… it’s like being at random points on Earth and trying to find each other.”

Creature

So as players make their way closer into the centre of the galaxy, will they encounter other players more often – with bigger ships and better guns, all waiting to blast them to space dust? Perhaps, Sean explains: “If other players aren’t doing that, then there are NPCs who will. But even at the centre of the galaxy, everything is still massively spread out. We want to make something that’s vast – we want it to be like the Wild West, where you never know what’s over the horizon.”

Do Sean and the team still find surprises in the game? “Absolutely. The more work we put into it, the more that happens. We each have a different universe running on our computers that we’re constantly changing. Every Friday, we have a review where we all sit down and play from the ‘master’ copy of the game, so we always see something happen that we never expected and had no idea would happen, and it’s a lovely feeling.”

Looking forward to boldly going where no man has gone before? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned to PlayStation Blog for more news and updates on No Man’s Sky. Find out more here.

29 Comments
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Great … can’t wait :D

2

How does exploring the galaxy work? Is it possible for players to tape the throttle button, put down their controller and do the laundry in the meantime and come back in a couple of hours to see how far they are?

Pleeeease tell me when this is going to happen!? Can’t wait!!

Guess i will be a pirate :)

No need to keep showing the game, I’ve wanted it all along. I just want to know when I can give you my money.

when when when? i just want it!

Yes agree with everyone now, now, now!

IMO it would be nice if in the future the creators of this game could come here on the blog and answer some of our questions.

I only have one question(kinda).
We know that the planets’ sizes are going to be 1:1, but what about the solar systems?
How big will star systems be? I mean they will be real, scientifically accurate 1:1 scale?(i mean the distances between planets in one system)
Because what we saw in the videos looked like the planets are too close to each other to be 1:1 scale.
And connected to this question, will the planets rotate and orbit around their star?

9.1

The planets are going to be big… The distance between them… Small.

@spacemonkey15
Is that official? I don’t think so…
I still hoping what we saw in the videos were just moons around a big planet and that’s why they were close to each other. Or maybe planets around a red dwarf.

9.3

Sean said that they would rather put having fun before being scientifically accurate in response to someone asking this question. He said that you won’t have to fly for a very long time to get to other planets in the same solar system, or it won’t take a super long time to enter or exit a planet’s atmosphere. The planets are on a 1:1 scale, but not the solar systems in themselves. He also said that you will ned a hyperdrive to make the jump to other solar systems, but since their are no loading screens I think this will probably be handled well all in all. Hope this helped!

Very excited for this. Has a lot of potential so I hope it makes true on that. As far as atmosphere etc it looks amazing but I was a little worried if there’d be anything to do in the universe. Was glad to read there’ll be weapons and some basic game mechanics because as much as I love exploration and games with a great atmosphere, if there isn’t anything to do it gets boring too (Proteus is a great example of this imo).
So, very excited for this but I hope it lives up to its potential.

orionthehunters 01 September, 2014 @ 17:53
11

It’s crying out for a Photo Mode like that in Infamous, be great it you had one on your ship that you could take out with you when leaving the ship to explore a planet…Just an idea as it is the first thing I would take with me.

I have a funny feeling this is going to be Free-to-play littered in microtransactions….please don’t let me be right!!

I hope not because I’ll gladly let them explore my pocket and #takemymoney

For a fixed one of payment.

And mine too!! :P

The automatic assumption that “free to play” means gouging micro transactions is incredibly short sighted. Yes, many free to play games are just boring grinds that feel like work and geared to push players into paying to get the most out their game. But others great games packed with compelling content that offer a shortcut through one of their mechanics for a modest fee.

Take WarFrame for example. I’ve logged 70 hours and not spent a penny. I’ll likely log another 70 before my free platinum runs out and if I still have reason to play then I will probably buy one of the platinum packs just to buy some more inventory slots to keep collecting gear. Every weapon and suit can be crafted with the exception of the top end stuff the resources are easy enough to come by without boring grinds for days on end like many free to play games.

In short, as long mechanics are fair I’d welcome this as a free to play game. Its an ambitious game and I’d hate to see it fail to gain traction due to a hi...

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The automatic assumption that “free to play” means gouging micro transactions is incredibly short sighted. Yes, many free to play games are just boring grinds that feel like work and geared to push players into paying to get the most out their game. But others great games packed with compelling content that offer a shortcut through one of their mechanics for a modest fee.

Take WarFrame for example. I’ve logged 70 hours and not spent a penny. I’ll likely log another 70 before my free platinum runs out and if I still have reason to play then I will probably buy one of the platinum packs just to buy some more inventory slots to keep collecting gear. Every weapon and suit can be crafted with the exception of the top end stuff the resources are easy enough to come by without boring grinds for days on end like many free to play games.

In short, as long mechanics are fair I’d welcome this as a free to play game. Its an ambitious game and I’d hate to see it fail to gain traction due to a high price of entry. The universe would be awfully empty of it ended up a £60 retail title or even a £30 download.

13.1

“I’ve logged 70 hours and not spent a penny.”

You sound like a freeloader, hahahahaa

If the game is so vast then it’s not fair for the company to expect players to just sit in front of PS4 and play it, i should be able to continue the experience on different devices like psvita, PC, tablet, mobile etc.. then only we could see people doing more and more exploration and moving ahead via learning new stuff present in the game.

15

All will be revealed in time patients grasshoppers

This game looks truly fantastic, but it’s going to be a real shame if you aren’t able to invite a friend to your location and then explore the world with them.
I’m sure exploring on your own will be exciting, but exploring with a few close friends would be far more enjoyable!!

Please let this be good,so many developers have bigged up their games over the years only for the game to turn out (MODERATED). PLEASE BE GOOD.

18

I just don’t get the hype for this game nomads sky :)

Really looking forward to this. There’s one thing that concerns me though. When watching one of the early trailers, I saw a planet from space. Although an impressive view, it looked the same all the way across. Sure, there was some turbulence in the form of mountains, but it looked like the same turbulence all the way across.

I hope that each planet has greater variation in the form of distinct biomes, not a desert planet here, jungle planet there, ice planet there and so on.

There simply MUST be seedy space bars we can congregate at.

Hi

I had the impression that we would have our own universes to explore rather than a shared one. That’s cool, but it’d be nice to have a separate universe for shared and a separate one for offline / private gameplay.

There will be an offline mode

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