It’s safe to say that the hype for No Man’s Sky was pretty big leading up to release. Even with the two week delay, gamers were convinced that it would be the second coming of games, and another feather in Sony’s cap. Whether it was the random planets, getting a chance to feel like you’re playing Star Trek, or a love for indie games, it won folks over. Now that the game has actually released and players have gotten to experience it for themselves, it’s clear that the game is a hit. Maybe not a critical hit (at least we liked it), but that’s fine, because it’s big in where it counts, and that’s helping people.
First and foremost, what a lot of people may not know is that No Man’s Sky’s developer is full of only a little over a dozen people. That 15 people made a game of this size, with all of those planets and star systems, is commendable. For aspiring developers, it’s pretty damn inspiring to hear that you can create something of that nature and ambition without needing to be a part of a team that’s 100 people or more. If you need any further proof that it’s possible for you, let it be known that after that initial No Man’s Sky showing at VGX, Sean Murray said that he was confronted by multiple developers who told him they wanted to make a game like that.
Let ‘s face it, most indie games these days are either visual novels or mining nostalgia by being 8-bit 2D platformers. There’s nothing wrong with either of those (big ups to Shovel Knight!), but it is nice to play an indie game that’s new new and not playing on the tried and true. Hello Games’ space title may be distributed by a big player in the industry, but they’ve made it very clear that first and foremost, this game belongs to them and them alone. Well, and the players as well.
Further, No Man’s Sky is absolutely beautiful and appropriately massive. Whether you’re on the ground or in space, it’s a complete visual masterpiece from top to bottom, which is important given the size and scope of the game. If there isn’t a photo mode on the planning board, it definitely should be. This is one of those games that you wish you could pause so you could take picture after picture for your screensaver or phone wallpaper. Likewise, its scope is astounding in terms of technology. The breadth of planets, each with their own atmosphere, weather effects, and wildlife is amazing. The beauty and tranquility of each planet, combined with the music and scope, can be appropriately calming. You could climb to the highest mountain on a planet, gaze at it all below you, and feel completely at peace before climbing down the way you came.
Of course, it’s when the game comes out that you truly see how it’s affected things, and in that regard, No Man’s Sky continues to succeed. For a game about traveling a large and expansive universe and possibly questioning your place in it all, the game has been noted for being really calming. Multiple people have said that the game has helped them relieve stress and anxiety. If you look on Twitter, you’ll see that people are talking about the game as a way to wind down after a long day at work, or tho help them get their mind off whatever’s been troubling them. If not the game itself, than the soundtrack is often thrown out, which is really good.
It probably wasn’t what Hello Games intended when they began to work on the game at all, to be fair, but it doesn’t diminish the game’s importance. A good amount of gaming these days can be stressful, whether it’s worrying about what’s going on in front of you right now while you’re playing multiplayer, or just thinking about incoming releases and your financial state. It’s good to play a game that just lets you unwind and chill for a few hours without being overbearing.
Going along hand in hand with the relieving stress is one of the selling points of the game, which allows you to name the planets that you discover. While several people simply use this mechanic as an easy way to name each planet, animal, or plant after a meme like Harambe or some sort of pop culture reference, others have been using it to honor family members or loved one who’ve passed away. Again, more than likely not what was originally intended by the developer, but the fact that you have the ability to do so is a touching feature. In fact, as much as people lament the loss of multiplayer for the game, this is one of the scenarios where going it solo may be for the better. While other players would likely just leave the named object well enough alone, others would probably not, given that they wouldn’t understand the context of the name. It’s pretty cool, having your own little slice of the universe to call your own and name it after your loved ones. Even calling something as simple as a plant the name of your pet can make it so that they’ll never be forgotten.
People will have reasons to not care for No Man’s Sky; for all of its promises, it may not have lived up to its fullest potential that it was shouting about, depending on your point of view. It’s alright to be upset that you’ll likely never meet another person while you’re traveling the cosmos, and PC players’ beef with their version having bugs are in the right. But a game of this magnitude is compelling on both a level of gameplay, and on an emotional level. Whether you’re just a gamer who needs a new game to play during the summer, someone with dreams of being in the industry, or you need to distract yourself from some emotional problems, this is an important game to play.