Are we too hyped for hyperspace?

I’m going to buy a PS4 in the fall of 2015 because, well, No Man’s Sky. Honestly, that’s the reason I’ve been telling friends and co-workers alike that it’s time to pick up a PS4. I’m so psyched for this game, but am I too hyped? Let’s break it down and get real. We’re going to talk about some major sell points and how well they hold up based on what games we’ve already seen like Eve Online and Elite Dangerous as well as anticipated games like Star Citizen.

New developer Hello Games is gaining massive online attention following Sony’s E3 conference. Their game, No Man’s Sky, was already underway since 2009, but the on-stage presentation was the biggest for me personally. If you saw the video or were lucky enough to be there in person, chills may have run down your spine like they did mine when Sean Murray did something so simple: he zoomed out.

Every point of light that rushed by on the screen was a star with actual planets that have moons and “ecology” of their own. Ugh, I got the chills again. That’s what this game does well. It hits my very nerve center, mostly because I love space. So anyone who’s stared at the stars and wished to fly around up there is about to get that experience. I think of Star Trek. The starship Enterprise had a five year mission: to explore. Hello Games is calling us to that end, but there is no end!

No Man’s Sky will have roughly 18 quintillion planets to explore which would seriously take billions of years. Do the math, it’s true! Yet, there is something amiss in all the wonder. How is this done? Are numbers everything?

The answer is simultaneously yes and no. It’s all numbers, but the numbers are deceptive. The “18 quintillion” rave came about from the possible output of 64-bit seed generators. What does that even mean? It’s a binary language code that creates something or generates it. The best example is Minecraft because every new world has a seed number that generated the environment. How is Hello Game’s big hit going to stand against an already successful franchise? Microsoft just snagged Minecraft and its developer Mojang for – brace yourself – 2.5 billion dollars. People are already invested in a sandbox game with staying power.

Other than the giant of Minecraft, No Man’s Sky has to win the hearts of other gamers with bias. Eve Online has owned the favor of space simulator players for a long time, long enough to get them to compare all newcomers to Eve Online. So there is a predisposition to space games as well as Star Citizen: a very qualified new game that will tie in features of space sim with first person shooter. Real action hero stuff for the more Star Wars kind of space lovers rather than the docile exploration of Star Trek fans. Check the YouTube video link below for a breakdown comparison that really helps explain the pros, cons, differences and similarities

This list of competitors goes on. Dreadnought, a space combat game of huge battleships, was beyond successful at PAX this year. Elite Dangerous, with it’s impressive physics, also previewed at PAX to much praise. How is No Man’s Sky gonna hold up? I actually find myself rooting for it loudly, even with all this skeptic analysis.

Sean Murray has for now ducked out of the media because he’s got high hopes, higher than ours, and he knows too much hype can kill something before it arrives. I’m scared for the new Star Wars movie because of this phenomena of over excitement. Like when a friend talks up a video too much: that “you’re gonna love it” attitude can miser it before it happens. Sean Murray knows that, so he’s backed off to protect his creation.

Maybe I’ll back off, too. I really want to enjoy my PS4 without getting it for just one game. Luckily, the Playstation has a TON of games I wanna go broke for, so it’s gonna be worth it even if hyperspace lets me down.