I have been very excited about No Man’s Sky since the first videos that have been released last year. I like exploring, I like wandering, I like space, I like 4X games. Over the last weeks, and specifically through E3, we have had more details about what the game is about.
A recent video by IGN presented the game during 18 minutes (cf. above), with new episodes to come. The journalist said that the game was the “ultimate open-world game, in a way [he had] never seen before”.
While this is most certainly true, it reminded me the feeling I had more than 25 years ago, when I was playing Captain Blood on my Atari ST. This game was just mind-blowing and shares many key feature with No Man’s Sky:
– Procedurally generated space map (at the time, each pixel of the 320×240 represented a planet)
– Procedurally generated planets, over which you can fly, before landing on it
– Procedurally generated alien species, unique to each planet
– An official goal asking you to go to many planets, while actually most of the pleasure came from the exploration itself: “What matters is not the destination, but the journey”
No Man’s Sky adds a layer of interaction with other ships, through mining, crafting, trading and combat, while Captain Blood offered for each alien species a unique language, based on icons, which the player would try to understand to try to communicate with them and gather information about the pieces of the Arch he was looking for. I fear this feature will be missing from No Man’s Sky as it is totally unrealistic that on the billions of planets the player might discover he will not find any intelligent alien species with whom he could communicate. Maybe it is explained by a trick of the scenario, but it might well hurt the game universe’s credibility.
As a comparison with latest No Man’s Sky videos, here is a video of Captain Blood, and remember the game is 27 years old now.