There are a lot of big name games being developed all the time. Whether or not we realize it, we treasure the time we spend waiting for them. It’s during this time that we’re free to let our imaginations run wild about how awesome a game is going to be. Sometimes the game lives up to what we’re hoping for, sometimes not. Either way, this calm before the storm is always the most optomstic of times. The best part is, even if a game comes out and it’s garbage, there’s always something else in the works.
With all these games on their way, it’s hard to decide what to be most interested in. As much as I’d love to play everything, I know that I just don’t have that much time, so I have to be a bit picky about where I put my pre-release hype energy. Some of those big games, like Metal Gear Solid 5, are almost upon us. There are those that feel like they’ll never come out, like CyberPunk 2077. There is one game that, to me at least, towers above them all. No Man’s Sky.
No Man’s Sky is by far the most interesting game to come along in, well, a really long time. The thing is, No Many’s Sky is interesting not just for what it is as a game, but for what it represents as a development project. It’s an indie game from a small studio that happened to hit the right notes at the right time and get thrust into the spotlight. Because of this, What happens to No Man’s Sky when it launches is going to be nothing short of mesmerizing.
Sony has put a bunch of it’s resources behind locking up No Man’s Sky as a PS4 exclusive, and it’s a game from a developer who’s only other titles to date were Joe Danger and Joe Danger 2: The Movie. What’s more, No Man’s Sky is not a Call of Duty. It’s an interesting game to those like you and me who have our finger on the pulse of the gaming community, but it’s certainly doesn’t have the same hype as something like Zelda U. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on the developer, nor am I saying that Sony shouldn’t have made the deal, I just think it’s hugely risky for both sides. No Man’s Sky is a really strange product that I think a lot of us are still really confused about, and it’s being put on a pedestal as though it’s sure to be the greatest game we’ve ever played.
No Man’s Sky looks incredible, there’s no doubt of that. Everything I see about that game leads me to believe that it will be visually stunning and a joy to explore. But what is No Man’s Sky beyond the neat visuals and the open world? I’ve watched some of the more recent videos showing gameplay, and it sometimes seems feels like the game lacks focus. What’s more who critics were raving about how cool No Man’s Sky looked a year are now starting to seem much more reserved. After having played it, I’ve picked up from several critics that, after having played the game, it might not be as ground-breaking as it once seemed.
No Man’s Sky is very reminiscent of Minecraft which might be a great thing for it. It’s also largely a single-player experience though, so social exploration and building is kind of out of the window. Oh and that would be true anyway because, to my knowledge, there is no building anyway. That’s fine. No Man’s Sky isn’t meant to be Minecraft 2. But what No Man’s Sky is supposed to be remains a mystery, and with so much hype and such a huge backer in Sony, it seems destined to either succeed or fail in a pretty epic fashion.
As an independent developer, I feel both excited and terrified for No Man’s Sky. If it’s successful it could pave the way for more small developers getting big deals and, more importantly, releasing really cool games. If No Man’s Sky fails it could mean the end of big publishers taking chances on weird little indie projects, at least for a while. No matter how you look at it though, No Man’s Sky is going to be a really interesting.
If No Man’s Sky is successful it won’t just prove that small developers can make quality triple-a products. It’ll also prove that the Minecraft formula wasn’t just lightening in a bottle. It’ll prove that more games can be built more with math than design (not that there isn’t design in the math of No Man’s Sky). It’ll prove that games that push what we think they can be and do so successfully. And it will prove that we don’t always have to rely on sequels to sequels of franchise that are 30 years old to be the only games worth investing our time in.
To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure I’m going to play No Man’s Sky. As of now, I don’t have a PS4 and I can’t think of a great reason to buy one. Maybe by the time the game comes out I’ll have gotten one, but unless No Man’s Sky is utterly mind-blowing, I might skip it. I’m much more interested in what No Man’s Sky represents for the industry than I will personally enjoy the game. I’m rooting for it to be a success because I think it could open a lot of doors for other interesting projects to get made, and that’s always a good thing.