What’s in a name? Or, to be more specific, what is No Man’s Sky? The creative possibilities being as vast and the universe we are on pins and needles to explore; where does one find the inspiration to give a title to a game so unique? Hello Games chose a curious title in No Man’s Sky. Nothing too obvious like Tomb Raider (Not a stretch to know what you’ll be doing in that game.), nothing so esoteric as Goobaloobala (I just made that up). So what does “No Man’s Sky” mean? It’s mystery is as enigmatic as the centre of the universe. Hello Games has been very strict in giving us descriptions, or even directions on many aspects of the game – and for good reason.

A name is more than just a name

As a boy I loved Christmas. Nothing made Christmas more exciting than the days leading up to the 25th of December. It was the waiting though – the anticipation of what would be under the tree. After the presents are opened however, it was over – at least for another year. As an adult I’ve come to appreciate the art of building curiosity, as a story teller and in advertising. Therefore, in the case of No Man’s Sky, I am happy to speculate and wonder. No Man’s Sky is about unspoiled discovery. Even the title has mystery to it.

War Never Changes

In speculation of where the title of Hello Games’ upcoming release comes from, I had a look at history. In the times of war to be specific. I took notice of some of the terms and phrases that popped up when reading about WWI and WWII. I had often heard these phrases growing up but never knew where they came from or what they meant. For example: “I gave him the whole nine yards.”. Turns out that the machine gun ammo used in the guns mounted on fighter planes came in strips of, you guessed it, nine yards. So when a pilot returned with a story of shooting down an enemy fighter and said, “Yeah I gave him the whole nine yards!”, it meant he spent the whole strip on one target, likely out of war fuelled rage.

Another term popped up that I have used myself in the past. This caught my attention when reading about war history, and more specifically, about the battles of ground infantry. There were typically two sides. Each faction would occupy a strategic area of the battlefield allowing for a generous amount of distance from the enemy line. The opposition would do the same, measuring optimal distance with terrain advantage to anchor their lines for artillery and other interments of war. However, between the two faction’s lines would be an area of unoccupied space. This would need to be crossed in order to break enemy lines. This was the most dangerous area of the battlefield because not only did the artillery of the enemy reach this area, but their own as well. A soldier could perish from friendly fire if they did not cross quickly into enemy territory. To get caught in this region of battle was said to be “No man’s land”. Could this be the connection to No Man’s Sky? Same premise, just a much, much larger theatre of war. So what does this mean to a game about exploration? Sean Murray himself has told us there would be factions that we could join and, if we wanted, battle against. There will be sides chosen and battles fought. If not by you, then by others with agendas of their own. Crossing these battles, or perhaps blockades, to reach a planet rich in resources could be the key to your next jump closer to the centre of the universe. Won’t that be interesting? One way or another, you are going to get caught in No Man’s Sky. I for one can’t wait!

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Ryan Brooks
Ryan Brooks
Managing Editor at the Galactic Observer
Ryan is a veteran from the advertising set. An art director and writer from Toronto, Canada, Ryan has been a science fiction aficionado since 1977 when his father took him to see a little known space opera called Star Wars. Gaming is a passion shared by his wife and three year old son. For Ryan, a good story is one of the most important aspects of the games he plays. Especially if you get to create the story yourself.