Imagine standing outside on a dark night, tracing the serpentine band of the Milky Way on its path across the dome of the sky. Imagine knowing that at any moment, you could cross the canvas of space and time to explore every one of the stars flickering from within the galaxy’s dimmest reaches.
No Man’s Sky, a new video game hailed by Sony as potentially one of the biggest in the history of the industry, allows players to do just that.
Using mind-glowingly complex mathematical algorithms, the game’s makers have created a full-scale, interactive galaxy scattered with stars, planets, moons, and asteroids, all separated by true light-years of digital space. Everything–down to the orbital arc of every last comet and asteroid–obeys the laws of gravitation and physics.
The creators write that the game was inspired by chief architect Sean Murray’s experience growing up in the remote wilds of the Australian Outback: “It was the true middle of nowhere, where if something went wrong you were told to just stay where you were and light a fire at an exact time every day, and hope that someone would find you.”
As a child, Murray looked up at the incomprehensibly vast night sky and wondered what it would be like to be able to explore distant solar systems–to find artifacts of civilizations buried beneath the surface of alien planets, or to discover new forms of life altogether.
In No Man’s Sky, the pristine details of a star-studded universe are not simply decorative ornaments strung up on the backdrop of a video game: they are fully imagined suns with fully developed planetary systems. Each world alone could take years to explore. Every planet possesses a biome that informs the development of its oceans and continents, forests and deserts, mountains and canyons. The plants and animals that users discover will be entirely unique to the conditions and chemical composition of the planet itself.
The highly anticipated game is still under construction by Hello Games, an indie studio based out of Guildford, UK. The release date is as of yet unannounced. One thing, however, is certain: No Man’s Sky will be worth the wait.
To see the interactive universe at work, visit the ‘No Man’s Sky’ website for videos and screenshots of gameplay.
Feature photo courtesy of Jakub.