Surface To Air Laser Fights: No Man’s Sky

When I first heard about No Man’s Sky [official site], I wanted to jump straight into a spaceship and explore infinite procedural planets. I wanted to look at all of the creatures in their infinite variety and I wanted to spend an infinite amount of time doing…well, what exactly? Observing? Collecting? Discovering? No Man’s Sky looked like a game in need of some verbs. What would we be doing on all of these worlds?

Pip’s splendid preview marked the first time I understood the verbs. Surviving! Learning! Gathering! Fighting! The latest trailer shows some of that fighting, on the ground and in space.

As soon as I can, I’ll play No Man’s Sky for a day and a night. Maybe I’ll never go back to it again or maybe it’ll become one of my favourite games of the year. I still don’t quite know what to expect. Will I be shooting spaceships and giant robots wherever I go, or will I be running around looking for a neat new plant or cuddly animal for most of my playing time? Will I ever feel threatened when resources run low and dangerous creatures close in on all sides, or will they be nothing more than a mild annoyance interrupting the grand tour?

Even though I have a better idea what I’ll be doing, I have no idea what the balance will be. It’s not clear whether combat is a necessary element of progression or an option for those who prefer shooting with a gun to shooting with a camera. It’s the screenshot galleries I’m looking forward to though, rather than the spacefights, and I’m hoping the trailers’ lack of variety in flora and fauna is to do with holding back surprises rather than having a limited pool of parts to build from. We’ll know soon enough. It’s out August 9th.


  1. jasta85 says:

    One of the more interesting games this year simply because we just don’t know nearly as much about it as most games before they launch. Not pre-ordering but I’ll be keeping an eye on reviews and let’s plays to see what it actually offers once it’s out

    • ChrisGWaine says:

      Or there’s just an expectation that there’s much more to it than is known, and that might unfairly undermine the reception for what it does deliver.

      • Anti-Skub says:

        I dunno. I think the expectation is fair, because the expectation is that there’s going to be entertainment to be had in the things the game has to offer. If there’s not then I’m not sure what you think would be unfair about it receiving a less than positive reception.

        • ChrisGWaine says:

          You’re kind of reinforcing my concern, which is that what we know it’s USP to be is probably enough to be entertaining to the people it’s designed for, but the expectation that there’s more to it will attract people who don’t think that’s enough and believe it’s fair to assume that there must be more that hasn’t been revealed, who will then be disappointed if there isn’t, creating a backlash of negativity.

          • LexW1 says:

            “The people it’s designed for” – And who are they?

            I mean, this is something the developers have seemingly avoided talking about, just as they’ve avoided talking about a lot of the elements of the game in any detail.

            If they’d made it extremely clear that the game was for people who enjoyed X, but not Y, or Z, then you would have a reasonable position. That isn’t the case however.

            As far as I can see, anyone who has pre-ordered it has a legitimate expectation, that, based on what has been released about the game, it will be fun. It will not be “negativity” if they don’t like it – it’ll be honest disappointment and dislike. The responsibility for which lands squarely on the developers who have preferred mystery and HUGE NUMBERS OF PREORDERS OMGOMGOMG to explaining the game in detail. That’s fine – but neither you nor they get to complain if people are disappointed, because they created that situation.

            In the end, every game is fun for at least a tiny subset of people – you can argue whoever these people are, they are “who it is designed for” (this is obviously false, but you can argue it). However, if a game is mysterious, accepts and encourages pre-orders, and then disappoints, that is on that game, not on the people (well, other than that they shouldn’t pre-order – but the game designers here have encouraged that).

          • ChrisGWaine says:

            It’s that “they created that situation” idea that I think is not reasonable. I do not believe they have. The idea that they have “preferred mystery” seems to have taken root, but seems to me to be illusory.

          • Cinek says:

            lol, and one might hope that by now people actually learn to recognize marketing tricks.

  2. Ur-Quan says:

    Man when I read the title I thought that you could shoot stuff in orbit from the ground.

  3. Skeletor68 says:

    That trailer makes the combat look a little, this is the incorrect term but, weightless. I hope I’m wrong, but I worry about trying to incorporate so many mechanics inside this one game. How likely is it that space combat and guns end up lacking punch while the team tries to get so much else right. If I can fart around a pretty galaxy collecting animal data, bits of languages and some rare materials then I’ll likely be happy anyway. I just worry about the come down off the hype and the following reception of the game.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      Edit: it is of course just the trailer and not the feeling of actually playing that I’m basing all of this on.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Did you just call the space combat weightless?

      I salute your cleverly disguised pun thread, sir.

    • CartonofMilk says:

      I agree. from all the footage ive seen the combat seems very bad and fast and kinda shallow. basically, arcade like. At least for a space sim fan like me.

      • gunny1993 says:

        One thing I’ve learnt from following development of elite dangerous, star citizen etc etc, is that there is no “Good” control set for space games, there’s just far too many variables that are simply down to taste.

  4. Walsh says:

    That looks…. not very good. Are you only fighting the robot things or wildlife on the planets?

    • Smoof says:

      Keep in mind I’m not at all following NMS and am assuming it’ll come out and be a generally middling procedurally generated games: My guess would be there’s some humanoid faction that built those Robots and based upon what we’ve seen in the trailer, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some story element to infiltrating their establishments and destroying them.

  5. Sc0r says:

    I was so hyped when it was announced. by now I fear it’ll get boring quickly.

  6. AskForBarry says:

    I’m afraid it will end up like Spore.

    • Cinek says:

      Spore had a brilliant cell-stage. I can’t see anything like that in NMS.

  7. Epicedion says:

    I find myself more and more wondering what’s the point of this kind of game.

    • jonahcutter says:

      The point is to explore and make it to the center of the galaxy.

      Whether that proves compelling is TBD. But that’s true of any game’s “point” before it’s released.

      • Epicedion says:

        The point of most games can be summed up really quickly. It might be ‘solve all the puzzles’ or ‘experience an entire story’ or ‘beat all the levels’ or even something simple like ‘master the gameplay.’ Like the point of a Total War game is to build armies and fight them against other armies either in a long campaign or just for a single fight. The point of Doom is to navigate mazes, shoot all the bad guys, and beat all the levels. The point of Pong is to get really good so you can beat better opponents. It might be a long win or a short win, whatever. I can’t really tell what the point of a survival game is anymore, apart from “never die,” which seems sort of fruitless (especially if you can just respawn). Exploration is barely fun if the only thing you get out of it is more places to explore, and it’s hard to even gain mastery if all that means is “go places better.”

        • Inph says:

          What’s the point of Minecraft? That game did pretty well, even before the tacked on Achievements and ‘end game’ boss.

          • The Great Wayne says:

            Build stuff, one of the most compelling hobby since forever. It’s basically virtual Lego : if you don’t get the point, I’m feeling very sorry for you.

          • Inph says:

            You replied to my comment as if it had no context. Ive spent more hours on minecraft than any other game, never with any particular end game goal in mind. That was my point. I’m looking forward to No Man’s Sky even if it is nothing more than what they have shown.

        • Nauallis says:

          Hey, don’t bash exploration, just because it’s not your thing. I really dig it. I’m looking forward to this game because of the exploration, and that it’ll mean seeing things that nobody else has ever seen. Being first. Sure, it’s in somebody’s IP and it’s procedurally generated, but I think that’s neat.

          I start more Civ 5 games than I’d really care to admit just because I love exploring huge highlands maps with scouts, while building a “home base” in the process. When the world starts to fill up, I tend to restart.

    • Blissett says:

      I don’t quite understand how people can even ask this question. Not just about this particular game, but any at all.

      Was the point of Mario to ‘rescue the princess’? I never gave a damn about the princess. Did you? The point, at least to me, was to play the game and have fun with it. To this day, this seems to hold true. The ‘having fun’ part may have not been achievable by all the games I played, but having some sort of spoon-fed goal didn’t enter the equation even once. If anything, it often detracted from the overall experience.

      But to each their own, I suppose.

  8. melnificent says:

    The advert video is wrong. It’s 12th August in the UK :(

    • Sakkura says:

      The official site says it’s the 10th of August in Europe. But maybe things went Brexit here too?

      • melnificent says:

        9th for the us, 10th for europe, and 12th for the UK. Which is even odder considering they are a UK company so know these delays are frustrating and pointless.

        • Cinek says:

          They strike me as first and foremost console players/devs, so I doubt it is frustrating for them, they like that status quo and clearly: support it on their own.

  9. Wisq says:

    Things I learned from the trailer:

    1: There is fighting.

    2: The player appears to be a fairly decent laser sponge.

    Honestly, this sort of jump-jump-jump-jump trailer makes it really hard to get any sense of how combat will actually work. And what minimal sense I got, seems really shallow and underwhelming.

    We’ve had “aim the reticle at a target and pull the trigger” since Elite back in the 1980s. If that’s all NMS has on offer, they probably should’ve just left it alone and not made a “fight” trailer at all.

    • LexW1 says:

      I dunno. I honestly felt like the combat in the 1980s Elite was a good deal more fun than the combat in Elite Dangerous (of course, many intervening games were wildly superior to either – TIE Fighter, I-War 2, etc.).

      • The Great Wayne says:

        Don’t neglect nostalgia, would you be able to play it again with your current mindset, you might be disappointed.

        In any case, having many features but lacking complexity and density is basically entering the “one miles wide, one inch deep” conundrum, which is one of the hardest to overcome for a game nowadays imho.

      • Little_Crow says:

        I don’t think the combat is all that functionally different between the original and E:D – what is more likely to have changed is your sense of what’s fun.

        I want to say that the space-jousting combat in Frontier was more fun for me. At the same time the newtonian physics is so central to the game that I find it hard to separate that mechanic from the joy I got playing.

        I was a bit bummed out when E:D had non-newtonian physics – but it really wouldn’t have endeared itself to new players and relativistic travel really throws Multiplayer into a cocked hat.

  10. w0bbl3r says:

    In a video just over a minute long, “fighting” (a quick shot of some laser fire) starts at about 15 seconds, and the video goes to generic “this game is awesome, look, ooooh, aaaah” statements at around 45 seconds, that gives you around 30 seconds of very quickly cut instances of laser fire that look pretty dull and not very tactical or interesting at all, just hold fire with crosshair on the target, soak up the damage you receive no problem.
    That’s not a “fight” trailer. Not at all.
    They have constantly avoided showing anything you do in this other than walk around taking pictures of purple, orange and pink planets with strangely similar weird-looking animal life and a few robots who kill you if you try to shoot stuff.

    I fully expect this game to be a huge disappointment to most people, and all those who are pre-ordering had better never make fun of people who pre-order call of duty ever again. Because at least with call of duty, bad as it is, you know what game you are buying.

    • Shadow says:

      They have constantly avoided showing most anything. The vast majority of the hype comes from a mixture of over-eager press, wild Molyneux-esque promises from the developers and would-be NMS players imagining virtues the game might have.

      It’ll be amusing to watch No Man’s Sky head-on collision with reality. It’ll most likely be a bland generic mess of a Space Minecraft minus building and persistence, plus some very shallow gameplay mechanics.

      But it’s a win-win. If I’m wrong after all these warning signs, it could be an interesting game to follow and buy on a deep discount.

      • ivanmussa says:

        As someone who have been following NMS development since late 2013, I feel like I know pretty much about the game. They sure held a lot back, I suppose. But after reading dozens of articles, watching various interviews (some of them more than 1h long), I would be comfortable preordering it. Too bad I don’t have the money.

        What amuses me is the incredible amount of people who seem to want this game to fail. Maybe Sean Murray is right when he says our generation (people who grew up playing atari and NES) is not equipped to understabd this kind of gaming concept.

    • mukuste says:

      You say that about CoD as if it were a good thing. Maybe some people are tired of knowing exactly what kind of game they’re getting even before they buy it. At least in this sense, NMS feels like a return to a period of gaming where every new release felt like a magic mystery box of secrets and potential and you’d never quite know what you’d get.

      Sure, this game might get boring after two hours. Or it might be legitimately great. We don’t know yet, and I actually find that refreshing.

  11. Shadow says:

    But will you see interesting things nobody else will see? And more importantly, even if you did, will it matter? The world is constantly regenerated outside a certain “bubble” around you, meaning that if you happened to come across anything worth showing, you wouldn’t be able to as the game would destroy it as soon as you were far enough from the site.

    Best you can do is name some cookie-cutter creature. That’s it. No building and a baffling total lack of universe persistence. The latter’s a huge red flag coming from a game which fashions itself revolutionary and The Next Big Thing.

    Discovery is utterly meaningless if nothing has permanence and you can’t leave any reasonable mark on the universe you’re presumably exploring.

    • Shadow says:

      Damn, that was mean to be a reply to Nauallis’ comment above:

      “Hey, don’t bash exploration, just because it’s not your thing. I really dig it. I’m looking forward to this game because of the exploration, and that it’ll mean seeing things that nobody else has ever seen. Being first. Sure, it’s in somebody’s IP and it’s procedurally generated, but I think that’s neat.

      I start more Civ 5 games than I’d really care to admit just because I love exploring huge highlands maps with scouts, while building a “home base” in the process. When the world starts to fill up, I tend to restart.”

    • ivanmussa says:

      The universe is persistent. If you go back to the first planet where you ever visited after 100 hours of gameplay, everything will be there the way you left it. Not really the way you left it, though: the planet will have rotated around its axis and its star, the creatures will have followed their schedule, etc.

    • Nauallis says:

      So don’t fucking buy it, jackass.

    • Blissett says:

      That question… well, in your case, statement… was answered in one of the interviews with the Developer, and you seem to have misunderstood the technology.

      Basically, (and I’m paraphrasing) if, say, you carve your name on the side of a mountain with your laser, this change to the planet/world/universe will be saved locally, on your disk, rather than on the servers, so it would be persistent in your perspective.

      If some other player were to visit the same planet, unless you did something extremely destructive (say blowing up a space station or making some creature species extinct by hunting every single member of that species faster than they could procreate), then that small-ish change (carving your name) would not be visible to them, and the mountain would appear pristine to them.

      However, were you to somehow beat the overwhelming odds and manage to find that other player and take the other player to your graffiti area, the other player’s local files would sync up with yours (and vice versa), so they’d be able to see the changes you’ve made.

      Sorry, its a long explanation, which you probably won’t read until the end, but its very interesting from a techie perspective. :3

  12. Inph says:

    You replied to my comment as if it had no context. Ive spent more hours on minecraft than any other game, never with any particular end game goal in mind. That was my point. I’m looking forward to No Man’s Sky even if it is nothing more than what they have shown.

  13. thinkforaminute says:

    I hope Hello Games gives RPS and friends the chance to review No Man’s Sky before it’s released. Keeping a tight lid on things will keep me from pressing that purchase button. I’d be happy just exploring one planet after another while attempting to decrypt the various aliens languages I come across.

    But, I would like to know if we’re going to see the same creature over and over. And if their servers crash from the influx of new players. Maybe I will wait a bit and see.

    • Jediben says:

      Me too. Watching RPS try to polish this most sticky of turds will surely be amusing.

  14. BaronKreight says:

    The more I see something about this game the more I think there is a carefully orchestrated PR campaign behind this whole thing. And it’s done certainly not by an indie developer.

  15. kromeboy says:

    The thing i liked about this trailer is the variety of cockpit shown. The ships will be procedural, and it looks like all the cockpit will be too.

    If the procedural variety is’t only cosmetic but is affect thee gameplay this game has great potential; if not i think that i will be disappointed as I was with Spore