In a game as vast as Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky (visiting each planet would take billions of years), it could be hard to know what exactly you’re supposed to do in the game.
To get an answer to this question, Eurogamer sat down with Hello Games Founder Sean Murray, where he talked about how No Man’s Sky is open-ended, and “players should be able to play a game lots of different ways.” Having found games quite predictable these days, Murray adds:
So, we wanted to be a bit more open ended than that. And that isn’t a new thing. If you look at PC and a lot of the games that are on Early Access right now, they are more and more that type of open ended thing. And it’s not niche; it’s like Minecraft and DayZ and Rust. And none of them really work – or sound like they work – on paper. They don’t have a classic motivation, or whatever. And I like that. I want to avoid having the game say, ‘One of three space stations destroyed!’, or having a trophy pop up [when you destroy all three].
That is the response he would like to give when explaining the game, but the answer he has to give is, “So there is a core game mode there. There’s the player’s journey which, if they play it linearly and go from the outer edge of the galaxy to the center of the galaxy, that’s their start and end of the game kind of thing.”
As players work their way through the galaxy, they’re “upgrading their ship, they’re upgrading their weapons, they’re upgrading their suit. And they need to do that because they’re very vulnerable, they will be attacked by AI, potentially – very rarely – other players, things like that, if they cross paths with them.” There’s also trading, space combat, ground combat, exploring planets, and more dangerous exploration as you get closer to the center of the galaxy.
Touching further upon the fact that you’ll rarely encounter other people in your game, Murray highlighted some ships he encountered on a trade route. “These guys are AI, yeah. And, actually you won’t know if they’re AI or real players in the final game. It’s not a thing we’re going to mark, I think.”
He further explained the multiplayer aspects a little later on:
We keep playing it down because if people go into it looking for a multiplayer game they will be disappointed. It’s just infrequent. And if it happens then that’s cool, but it’s not a big part of the game. We don’t want you to feel alone. And if you come across people then that’s cool and it will be a nice moment. I think of Journey, or something like that. You wouldn’t think of Journey as a multiplayer game. You come across people and it’s a really big part of the experience, but it’s not about playing with your friends.
In terms of newer features, Murray discussed resources, which you can find by pressing the square button and scanning the nearby area. Then, you can fire projectiles to destroy a part of the environment and collect them. “You can see the terrain is destructible,” he says, “which is something we haven’t shown people before…”
Resource gathering in every game is normally super boring, and people purposely make it like a chore. And we want it to be fun. It’s something we’re still playing about with. It’s quite fun to be able to do it from a distance, and we also have this grenade thing [that blows holes in the terrain].
I find myself just doing this, being on a mountain and scanning and then just destroying everything around me. Doing the usual stupid things of drilling a hole and having an animal fall into it. Stuff like that keeps me amused. And when people are like, ‘What do you do [in No Man’s Sky]?’, the reality is, for some people just that, and that’s fine.
No Man’s Sky is scheduled to launch first on PlayStation 4 in 2015.