It must have been a wild ride for Sean Murray and everyone else at Hello Games these past few years. Right before the game finally makes it into players' hands, its creator has made one last attempt to explain what No Man's Sky is - and, importantly, what it isn't.
In a blog post entitled "What Do You Do in No Man's Sky?", Sean reminisces over some early builds, and the thoughts that went through his head 5 years ago when he started work on it. " I had such a clear picture in my mind of an emotion I wanted you to feel," he writes. "To wander around an alien planet, and to feel you had discovered it."
And that, Sean says - and as I discovered last night - is what you actually do in No Man's Sky.
"This maybe isn’t the game you *imagined* from those trailers," he continues. "If you hoped for things like PVP multiplayer or city building, piloting freighters, or building civilisations… that isn’t what NMS is. Over time it might become some of those things through updates... At launch though, it’s an infinite procedural sci-fi-space-survival-sandbox unlike anything you have ever played before. If you decide to play it, you’ll see just how closely it plays to those trailers, and to our original vision.
"It’s a weird game, it’s a niche game and it’s a very very chill game."
I don't think it's a stretch to say that the hype has rather run away with No Man's Sky over the past weeks, months and years. What was revealed as an indie space-exploration game has become so much more in people's minds, as evidenced by the extreme fervour sometimes evidenced in places like the No Man's Sky reddit. It's no surprise, perhaps: space itself is so thematically redolent as the boundaries of human effort an imagination that space games sometimes fall victim to fans' wildest projections.
"This game might not be for everyone, I expect it to be super divisive," says Sean. This post - as well as one last attempt to explain what the game is - feels to me like one last attempt to cut through that hype.