It’s been about three weeks since I last play Hello Games’ divisive title No Man’s Sky and before you dismiss me as a Sean Murray fanboy I will compromise with you – NMS is a good game but it is not what we were sold. Which is quite unfortunate in the immediate reaction to the game’s release. However, with modern day game development in the state it is now, Hello Games has a huge platform from which they can develop aspects of the game in order to make it a well-rounded experience. Below are five things that, in my opinion, would help develop the experience of the NMS very literal universe.
An Additional Storage System
Sean Murray alluded to the possibility of base-building in a not-too-distant future for NMS; I can see the appeal of it for many fans, with games like Fallout 4 and the new Horde mode of Gears of War 4 demonstrating the fun you can have with them. Though I don’t think such a system would work to benefit the overarching theme of the game: exploration. Murray and his team have been adamant that, at the heart of this project, exploration is the key feature. Base-building is pretty much the antithesis of exploration; it makes you settle down and focus on a mere droplet of land in comparison to the size of the game.
I would much prefer to see a system akin to something like a locker storage system on a space station. This would allow players to indulge in their hording addiction (thanks Bethesda) whilst keeping true to the overall ideals set within the game. It would also mean that players would have two inventories to manage: the gear and resources they choose to take with them on an exploration and the inventory they collect and trade with on a permanent storage unit in a space station.
A Reason to stay in Space
Space is bloody awesome – an opinion similar to that is probably what drew you to the idea of No Man’s Sky; and whilst the aesthetics of space are beautiful in the game; the void of space is pretty static. The game does offer black holes but I believe that Hello Games are capable to building in some really awesome things to find. Imagine visiting a star system that hosts a star about to go into supernova, or vising a planet that is occasionally bombarded with solar flares due to a too close sun.
With the focus on the fiction part of science fiction; Hello Games are able to play around with theoretical notions as well; white holes could allow for some beautiful visual as massive amounts of energy pour from pockets of space and could be used to create dangerous area to fly around in. Of course I think I’m safe in saying that space whales are something we all want to see.
An interactive Periodic Table
Hello Games put a lot of thought and effort into creating the elements and isotopes that are found in the game. Though I think this is something that can be made really engaging for the player. Allowing players to use elements they find to craft new alloys and elements would open up the ways in which players craft items for their ship, suits, weapons and the way they trade.
This is something that NMS does to a degree already. I’m sure players have already come across one message or another that needed the pattern to be decoded so you can gain a new location. Once you solve the first couple of messages, the whole act becomes a bit too repetitive; which is quite annoying as it was a really nice touch from the team. If the internet has taught me one thing though, it is that people have learnt to teach themselves new and niche skills pretty well. Anyone who had an attempt at the Archer scavenger hunt will know that it got many people to decode layers of sound to unearth messages; whilst Elite Dangerous has also used similar code breaking ideas to engage players in the wider ideas of the game. This is something that I feel would introduce a much needed sense of challenge into No Man’s Sky and would be something, I believe, that could get people to surprise themselves with the lengths they will go to get answers.
A Wider Variety of Planets
This is perhaps the most difficult to envision happening simply because of the degree of diversity needed to attain that inexplicable word ‘unique’. When playing the game you would not be alone in thinking that you have seen pretty much all there is to see once you hit the twentieth planet – especially if by some freak accident all of the plants you have seen were all toxic wastelands. If Hello Games are able to broaden the parameters of the math behind their game; then they may be able to deliver a wider variety of environments for players to explore in. This is a huge task but one which would really begin to deliver a sense of what the developers are working hard to achieve.
What do you think? Is there anything else you’d like to see in No Man’s Sky? Leave a comment and why not follow me on Twitter @jreetun – now get out of here you little scamp!