You Can’t Forge Allegiances With Alien Races
One of the big draws of No Man’s Sky for me was the ability to become allies with certain alien races. Speaking to IGN, Sean Murray talked about the different attributes that each of the different alien races had. Some were scientific (like the Korvax), while others were more aggressive (like the Vy’keen). So naturally, if you wanted to play as a more aggressive space explorer in the game, you could potentially attack pirates and freighters to gain more standing with with the Vy’keen, and this might lead to various rewards associated with that race. However, while you can gain standing with alien races in the final product that we have now, being allied to alien races lacks the depth and complexity and Hello Games had alluded to when talking about the game.
Right now, it’s incredibly easy to gain standing with each of the races. Simply picking the right dialogue options will gain you points, and defeating space pirates in any star system will gain points with whichever race happens to be dominant in that particular system too. It doesn’t matter if you choose to ‘prioritize’ one race over the other, because they all give you the same rewards for completing the same activities anyway: defeat pirates, choose the right dialogue options, find research specimens.
The alien races in No Man’s Sky are also incredibly detached from each other, and there’s no fear of any repercussions from another race by choosing to ally with another one.
The Aliens Aren’t Smart
Another cool thing that Hello Games brought up about No Man’s Sky was the fact that the alien NPCs you spoke to in the game would show awareness of the star system they were in, what planets were nearby, and what resources were available to them. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all in the game. After spending about 30 hours with No Man’s Sky, jumping from system to system, interacting with these advanced lifeforms only gives me access to scenarios which repeat themselves, followed by a choice between three dialogue options that would determine whether I gained standing with that race or not.
According to an interview with the PlayStation Blog, Murray stated that the NPC reactions would be “procedurally generated.”
“Having said that, being No Man’s Sky, there is a procedural element to your interactions. The AI you talk to will know the name of the planet you’re on and will reference it. They’ll reference wanting certain things based on the environment they’re in. They’ll know if it’s cold, or hot, or whatever. You’ll see a reasonable amount of variety — it’s not just pre-baked dialogue.”
Ironically, “pre-baked dialogue” seems to be exactly what we got in No Man’s Sky. None of the aliens that I’ve come across have shown any interest in the Gold and Emeril-filled planet that sits right next to their space station, and are happy to pay me vast sums of units for a ‘valuable’ resource that’s available in abundance just a few hundred parsecs away.
You Can’t Name Your Ships
Earlier this year, in an interview with Game Informer, Murray mentioned that ships were also considered discoveries, just like the plants and wildlife you would encounter during your travels. He also stated that you could discover a specific ship type, name it, and anyone else who came across that particular type of ship would be able to see what you’ve named it. As it turns out, this is not true at all.
In my 30 hours of playtime with No Man’s Sky, I have not discovered a way to rename my ship, or its type, and I certainly haven’t come across any player-named ships during my travels either.
There’s No List of Discovered Resources in Star Systems
In another interview with IGN, Murray mentioned that one of the more reliable ways to find a particular element you were searching for was to use the galactic map. From the galactic map, you’d be able to see the star systems discovered by players and, if they chose to upload their discoveries, you would be able to see a list of elements and resources that could be found there. This isn’t something that made it into the final game either.
Right now, the galactic map in No Man’s Sky tells you what class the star system is, and how many planets and moons can be found in that system. Looking back at my own discovered systems, it’s impossible to tell what resources I’ve managed to mine from there. Heck, even looking at the discovery menu and going to each individual planet on the list doesn’t give you any information about what elements you can find there either. While you can upload your flora and fauna discoveries, there doesn’t seem to be a way to see what elements or minerals are available in a system or a planet.
Elements Don’t Vary Depending on How Far You Are From the Sun
When talking about how crafting worked in No Man’s Sky, Murray mentioned that players would be able to find different types of resources depending on the climate/weather of the planet they were on, and how far away it was from the sun. Going by that logic, it would be easy to assume that you’d only be able to find certain crucial elements on a cold planet, and you’d have to visit a warmer or more tropical planet for other resources that you needed.
Unfortunately, it would appear that the temperature and climate of a planet doesn’t seem to matter all that much in No Man’s Sky. Almost every planet will come with an abundance of Plutonium, and while the more valuable resources like Gold and Emeril might be harder to find on certain planets, they’re definitely not affected by the planet’s distance from the sun. Personally, I’ve discovered nodes of Emeril on snowy, ice-covered planets, as well as tropical ones alike. Regardless of what planet you’re on, you’ll always find everything you need to keep your tech charged up, and there’s hardly any risk of being stranded.
Portals Don’t Do Anything
These strange monolith portals were shown off in one of the earlier trailers for the game, and suggested that players were able to discover these structures on a planet, walk through them, and find themselves in a completely different environment.
I’ve actually found a similar-looking portal in the game, but the problem is, it doesn’t seem to do anything at all. Right now, it doesn’t look like there’s any way to activate these portals and step into a different dimension or planet. Upon examining the portal closer, my character couldn’t interact with it either, and it would seem that these structures are just randomly generated on planets as part of the scenery.
You Can’t See or Interact With Other Players
This is a big one. Sean Murray showed off a demo for the game on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. When asked if there was any way for a player to see what their character looked like, Murray stated that the only way for you to know what you look like is for another player to encounter and see you. While the chances of encountering another player were extremely rare, he also acknowledged that it was indeed possible for two players to find each other.
Clearly, that isn’t the case. When the game launched on PS4, two Twitch streamers found themselves in the same star system, and tried to meet up with each other. However, even though they were clearly in the same exact spot on the planet they’d agreed to meet up at, they were unable to see each other. Murray has been a little cryptic in his response to this chance encounter, and it’s unclear whether that multiplayer aspect has been removed entirely from the game, or if it’s just a bug that arose from the servers overloading on the first day.
In conclusion, the version of No Man’s Sky that we’re playing today does seem like a very different game from what we’ve been shown over the course of the past three years. While all of these promises certainly don’t break the nature of the game in any way – it’s still an incredibly massive and immersive space exploration game – it’s clear that had all of these features been included in the final product, No Man’s Sky might have been a much deeper and complex gameplay experience.
However, not all hope is lost. Murray has also stated that base-building will be coming to the game in a future patch, so it’s very possible that all of these features could eventually be added to the game in subsequent updates. But for now, hopefully we can all be satisfied with a near-infinite universe to explore.