We still don't know much about No Man's Sky, but after seeing a live demonstration we can say it was one of the most intriguing projects on display at E3 this year. So far, we know that it allows players to explore a full, unique universe, every bit of which is procedurally generated – planets, plants, animals, spaceships, buildings, everything. It's still difficult to tell what will drive players to explore that universe, but Hello Games founder and managing director Sean Murray says some of the game's key factors are surprise and discovery. In one moment, you might be naming a new species of dinosaur, in another you might be engaged in a space dogfight with a hostile alien race.
"I really like that when I play the game, those things naturally happen, naturally emerge," says Murray. "And sometimes you're just not sure why, and you have to start to learn a little bit more about the universe." Video game players have become inundated with information, he says, which makes it hard to be surprised by a game.
"I think we've become really good at telling you everything you need to know about a game before you play it, to the point where you pretty much know how it starts, you know where you'll be in the middle, and you know how it'll end. I mean, I played Watch Dogs, and I actually really enjoyed it, but I had watched like 13 different videos about it before I played it, and there was so little surprise left for me," says Murray. "And I think we want to leave that a little bit for the player. This is a game about exploration, not in a kind of ambient way, not in a way that is just laid back and boring, [but] in a sci-fi way, which is kind of adventure and discovery."
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No Man's Sky (E3 2014 Screens)