6 Expectations About ‘No Man’s Sky’ That Were Wrong

Judged on hype alone, the biggest game of the summer is, without question, No Man’s Sky, a game coming to PlayStation 4 and PC that’s about exploring an unimaginably vast universe. But in the years since Sony announced the game, many fans have been confused about what exactly No Man’s Sky is. Is it an MMO? Will you encounter other players as you fly your ship around? What would you say you do in the game? These questions have caused some players to worry about the game.

Now that it’s here, let’s clear up some of the top misconceptions many gamers on forums and social media seem to have about No Man’s Sky.

1. That it’s a multiplayer game

An alien planet in No Man's Sky.

An alien planet in No Man’s Sky | Source: Sony

Nope, No Man’s Sky is not a multiplayer game. Not even a little bit. It’s single-player from start to finish, despite suggestions that it might be possible to run into other players. Maybe the developers considered making it multiplayer at some point, but in the final version of the game, you won’t run into anybody.

Other players aren’t in the same instance of the game’s universe you’re in. Each PlayStation 4 and PC running the game has its very own version of the universe, with a population of one: you. Any other people or creatures you encounter in the game are digital creations, whipped up by the programming team at developer Hello Games.

That said, if you play the game in online mode, your universe is linked to everyone else’s. It’s unlikely, but it’s possible for you to land on a planet someone else has already discovered and named. You may encounter flora and fauna already discovered and cataloged by someone else, and you’ll see the name they gave it. But that’s the extent of the effect anyone else can have on your game. It’s lonely out in space.

2. That it takes forever to beat

An alien planet in No Man's Sky.

No Man’s Sky | Source: Sony

The goal of No Man’s Sky is to make your way to the center of the universe. As you travel, you can do as much exploring, crafting, and trading as you want. But some eager fans had decided that getting to the universe’s beating heart would be a thousand-hour journey that would take years of gameplay to achieve.

Turns out that’s not the case. One early player of the game managed to reach the center of the universe in 30 hours (though bug was exploited to do so). Now, that could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how much free time you have.

3. That it’s limitless

Alien dinosaurs stand on a distant planet in No Man's Sky.

No Man’s Sky | Source: Sony

You’ve probably heard that this game has lots of procedurally generated planets for you to find and explore. It does. But that doesn’t mean that it’s an infinite game. To put a number on it, the developer says the game will contain over 18 quintillion planets. If Hello Games’s math is correct, it would take about 585 billion years for one person to see them all. So while it’s technically a limited universe, it’s a limitation you’ll never bump into (unless you’re immortal).

4. That it’s totally randomized

When a game is “procedurally generated,” that means that the software creates the game world on the fly. And while the 18 quintillion planets that make up the universe are built on the fly by software, the software has a bunch of rules governing what goes into a planet. Things like the planet’s distance from its star will determine its temperature range, which affects what plants, animals, and minerals you’ll be likely to find there. This game is science fiction, so its fiction is based on science.

5. That it’s story-driven

Unfortunately for gamers who enjoy a ripping narrative in their games, No Man’s Sky effectively has no story. To that end, you won’t run into individual characters or encounter any cut scenes as you play. The goal is to get to the center of the universe, but how you go about doing that depends on how you want to play the game. You don’t have a narrative to guide you.

That said, you may stumble on things like crashed space ships, ruins, and artifacts that might get your creative juices flowing to imagine a story based on what you discover.

6. That everyone will love it

This one comes straight from the mouth of Sean Murray, the lead developer on the game. In a developer blog post intended once and for all to put to rest the question of what you do in No Man’s Sky, Murray says, “This game might not be for everyone, I expect it to be super divisive.” That’s coming directly from the source, so if you’re not down with an exploration-driven experience about mining resources, trading with NPCs, and battling ships and robots, then it’s not for you.

For more information about what you do in No Man’s Sky, check out this handy FAQ on Reddit.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed

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