When procedurally-generated wonderverse No Man’s Sky was first announced, we thought a PC version was a no brainer/manner/sky-er. Ever since Sony became the wind beneath its promotional wings, however, there’s been some confusion around when a PC version will happen, if ever. Thankfully, I metaphorically (and also literally sometimes shhhh don’t tell) live under developers’ floorboards and subsist on whatever info-scraps might trickle down, so I snatched some clarification on the E3 “winner” from developer Hello Games. Here’s what’s going on.
During E3 managing director Sean Murray told me the following:
“Basically we’re doing a console debut on PS4. That’s all we’re saying right now. But that leaves open a PC version, which we really want to do.”
He was, however, cagey on when a PC version might happen, and he stressed that one hasn’t been formally announced yet. In the wake of that I contacted Hello Games in hopes of getting a response with a little more meat on its bones, a why to accompany the (rather puzzling) what.
The response I received was basically thus: there’s nothing locking Hello Games into only making a PS4 version, but the team is purposefully small and they don’t want to balloon it out so big that it pops, letting out creative potential with a sad “pffffffftheeep.” Given that the game is still a ways off, the studio isn’t entirely sure how much that will limit its ability to do two versions at the same time. For now, then, they don’t want to announce anything. Not until they’re sure.
Assuming a PC version does happen, though, there are a few features that could really make it stand out. The most obvious, of course, is mod support. Pairing No Man’s Sky’s procedural generation tech with player-created ideas, creatures, and assets could make the allegedly limitless game even more limitless, redefining the concept of limitlessness and making (oxy)morons out of us all. Will it happen, though? The team’s not sure yet, but the potential is definitely there.
“We don’t know yet whether we’ll allow mods or provide tools to support them,” said Hello’s Alex Wiltshire. “Our focus, though, is on features that support what for us the game is about – exploring a vast universe. That might inherently involve mods – we’ll know more as we continue making the game.”
He added that, really, that’s the main priority, despite all the seemingly endless tech talk. The goal, Wiltshire insisted, is to design a truly cohesive, interesting game. The whizzbang tech is only a foundation.
“Though it looks like No Man’s Sky is all about tech, for the team it’s actually the opposite,” he said. “It’s always been about the idea first, and then creating the tech it requires. That’s the case for all of its features – they’re about iterating and what fits the concept best rather than fitting the game to certain ways of doing things.”
A fun videogame? Madness. Mark my words: it’ll almost certainly never catch on.