What is No Man's Sky? That's the question that many gamers are left with after the game's announcement trailer during the VGX awards. Here we are a few days later and even those who have previewed the game are still hard pressed to answer that question. Imagine starting a game on a remote, vibrant planet unique to itself. You only goal, and it's vague at that, is to find a spaceship and move towards the center of the galaxy. That's No Man's Sky.
See, every inch of every planet, from the grass to the animals and the spacefaring civilizations that occupy said planet, are procudurally generated. That's just the start. Each planet in the sky is also entirely procedurally generated and absolutely explorable. It's a living galaxy waiting for players to discover its secrets. How does a 4-man team coming off of developing Joe Danger create galaxies from scratch? Clever design and a lot of tricks.
Thus, the real question we should ask is how we'll be able to interact with this galaxy? In the trailer below we see the player fly spacecrafts, shoot asteroids, and otherwise just roam. Yet we also see a planetary characteristics, spacecraft characteristics and even player characteristics like what looks to be health and ammo. How will we get to play with these things and how will they add to the gameplay experience?
What we do know, from the developers' descriptions of No Man's Sky, is that as players approach the center of the galaxy the game will become extremely difficult. It's about the exploration, the events that ultimately push us forwards and backwards, and not the conclusion that drives the experience of No Man's Sky. Think Dark Souls, think Rogue-likes. Those are specific descriptors for a game that hasn't shown us how it's played yet.
Well, they showed us we can explore unique, procedurally-generated planets and the emptiness of space. I guess that's all it takes. No Man's Sky? Consider me a fan. Expect it in 2014 on PC and potentially on consoles too -- they're still exploring their options.