No Man's Sky gives you a vast procedurally generated galaxy to explore that houses 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 unique planets. And, on each and every one of those planets, you'll be kicking yourself if you forget where you landed your ship.
"It's a ball ache," Hello Games' Sean Murray told Edge (via GamesRadar). "I have this [design] argument with the guys all the time, but if I hand someone the controller, the first thing they’ll do is lose their ship. Even in games like Far Cry 4, Dragon Age or The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, which are huge worlds, there are pathways. They want me to go this way to get some plant at the top of a mountain, but I prefer to go this way, and I’ll just buggily hop up. We don’t have those predefined pathways."
The first time players sit down with No Man's Sky they don't expect this lack of direction and handholding. "It’s really fun to watch, because people spend their first half hour with the game getting lost – hopefully in a good way," says Murray. "Then you see something: suddenly they start treating it as a real place, using landmarks [to navigate]. They’ll say, ‘Oh, I’m at the other side of that lake now.’ They’ll land their ship and say, 'I’m leaving my ship by those trees,' remembering places like that to find their way back. That’s quite a nice thing."
I hadn't even considered this side of No Man's Sky while seeing trailers for the space-explorer. This could be one of the first games in years that's had me sit with a notepad and pen drawing out simple maps as I explore the environment.