In the most aggressive gameplay footage we have seen to date, Anthony Carboni dons his best “Space Dick” (to coin a phrase used by IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey) hat and proceeds to show us what a fusion of Call of Duty smack talk, Grand Theft Auto random violence and No Man’s Sky’s beautifully generated world would look like. It is not for the feint hearted. Or animal lovers.
The video starts off in a suitably placid fashion, with Sean once again faced with the positively chilly -163.4 on Balari V, making his way to one of the Monolith’s we’ve seen in earlier videos. A bonus for viewers is a much clearer view of the interaction with the monolith, where the IGN video had cut away at the most inappropriate moment. We even got to see some of the text translated into English this time, the red alien text morphing into something we could understand.
A feature not really generating much attention was briefly shown, whereby the successful interactions with the monolith appear to result in your discoveries being saved, affording players another golden opportunity to protect their findings. This interaction also leads to the player sleeping in front of the monolith, fully restoring health and turning night into day. It should be pointed out however that monolith’s on other planets may very well act in different ways, and have differing effects on a player, as well as being potentially harmful if a player makes incorrect choices. As Sean Murray states, “Each planet has its own set of rules, and you’re trying to adapt to them and learning what does what”, further adding to the incredible diversity this game offers.
After more planetary exploration, the frigid environment is slowly depleting the players shield. Resources can be gathered with both a combat and mining laser in order to recharge it, care being taken of course not to attract the attention of any nearby Sentinels. Deciding he needs to warm up a bit, Sean uses some previously gathered resources to craft an upgrade to his weapon, in the form of a ‘Land Disruptor’. This Grenade-style ammo allows whole sections of ground to be blasted away to, in the case of Balari V, reveal an extensive cave network which the player can use to escape the bitter cold, make a temporary shelter, or find unique resources.
Using the Land Disruptor to tunnel back out again we’re then shown some of the life forms that inhabit this world. A strangely named creature called an ‘Odylus Lleriu’ looking equally as strange as its name would suggest lumbering on the brow of a hill in the distance. Of course, this being No Man’s Sky, strange procedurally-generated names can be swapped for equally strange player-chosen names, as can almost every other discovery in the game – planets, star systems, plants etc.
A quick save of the game in the nearby outpost and brief interaction with the Korvax Scientist NPC that we’ve seen in recent videos and then it’s time for the main event, Sean gingerly hands the game pad to Anthony, as if he knows what’s coming.
A full 3 seconds (yes I counted) in Anthony’s game goes by before the peace that has prevailed on this world for countless generations is shattered by a poor ‘Enchus Iodonin’ taking a Land Disruption grenade to the backside, killing it instantly and generating a shriek of delight from its assailant. A few more volleys takes care of more planetary inhabitants, with an equal amount of extreme landscaping, Battlefield 4 style.
This naturally attracts the attention of the Sentinels, the universal ‘guardians’ whose role is seemingly to protect the status quo and discourage anything which may unbalance a planet’s ecology. Interestingly though, it would appear that unless they actually see a player committing an act of aggression, they merely show up and start scanning everything in the area, as if they are investigating the scene of the crime like some futuristic CSI.
There is a brief jump in footage (post release this was revealed to be due to a discussion about the drawing of genitalia on every planet with the land disruptor, presumably not deemed to be family friendly) before we begin the ‘smack-talk’ portion of Anthony’s play though, skills finely tuned on the battlefield of Call of Duty no doubt. With Anthony busy scanning his kill, like some African big-game hunter, more Sentinels arrive to survey the situation but without any first-hand evidence of his crimes, they leave him alone. For now.
It is at this point where the jet pack is discovered, and what a jet pack it is. Some serious hang time can be had with this, and the model shown in this video appears to have approximately 4 seconds of power before needing a couple of seconds to recharge. This recharge requirement is how Hello games will prevent players from simply jet packing into space.
Shortly afterwards we get our first footage of a discovery being renamed, something we have only heard about up until this point. There is also a very useful 3D model of the discovery, something hopefully that will be accessible in your encyclopaedia that you build up on your journey though No Man’s Sky. Interestingly it would appear that names will need to be unique in the game, with Sean not denying that when it was briefly discussed.
Just when Anthony’s quest to wreak maximum havoc seemed to be at an end, the bombshell was dropped by Sean Murray. Anthony’s Christmas had come early this year….there is melee fighting in the game. A poor ‘Mphus Yrtotragu’ was the recipient of this newly discovered fact. We even discovered you can melee the corpse of your vanquished foe.
All Good Things
After a little more planetary destruction, the Sentinels finally catch their man red-handed, gaining Anthony a 1-star wanted level and some hostile fire. Within a few seconds the already injured player is dispatched and Sean resumes control of the game after re-spawning at the last save point. A quick summoning of his ship, Sean boards his Korvax science vessel and seamlessly blast off into space, without a loading screen in sight and covering the entire play area of the previous 10 minutes within about a second.
We’re treated to a wonderful view of the space surrounding Balari V and are able to see moons, a space station, the key trade routes (shown as white contrails) as well as freighters warping in to deliver their goods. Sean gives us a great opportunity to witness some space combat mechanics when he attacks a nearby freighter, drawing the fire of not only the freighters themselves, but of fighter ships. Clearly facing this much firepower in a science vessel is not the wisest choice and the ship is quickly destroyed. The player will need to be in a much more capable combat vessel if they are to attempt to take on a challenge such as this.
When getting destroyed in space, the player will respawn in the nearest space station, but there is some confusion about whether you retain your ship or whether you lose it. In the video, Sean still has his Korvax vessel, but this may be specifically due to the demo build. Until now it has been communicated that players will lose their current ship and respawn with a very basic life pod.
We get to see the interior of the space station, as well as Sean’s favourite spot in the game, the window overlooking the planet below. In case you need reminding of the scale of the planets in No Man’s Sky, the entire play area from the planetary part of the video is roughly the size of the tiny cursor in the centre of the screenshot below.
As a final hurrah, we get to see the one thing that neatly sums up the scale of No Man’s Sky, the Galactic map. This visually stunning experience truly brings home the vastness of the Galaxy Hello Games have created for us, just one of a number of galaxies that make up the Universe. A symphony of colour and ambient music is a fitting end to a memorable video.
Whilst Anthony’s play style may not be to everyone’s taste, I have no doubt Hello Games will be delighted that there will be players that will truly make the experience their own and choose the path that suits them the most even if they do wreak havoc on unsuspecting worlds and have no interest in making the journey towards the centre.