The developer demo for No Man’s Sky came out this week. It’s great to see the entirely unproblematic joys of aggressive colonialism alive and well. This is the game the Sad Puppies would make if they were game producers.
Transcript as follows, but you should really watch it for yourself.
Interviewer Anthony Carboni: “So, No Man’s Sky. What am I doing. What do I do? What is the game, now, you know?”
Sean Murray (MD of Hello Games): “So, yeah, I wanted to show you a little bit. A big part of it is exploration. That’s the thing that most people understand. Right, like I can explore around these worlds, but what that means is really different to any other game. Right? If I land on a planet like this one, like, no one’s ever been here before, like literally no-one. So you use landmarks like this point of interest here, right?”
[Camera pans left to a huge stone monolith engraved with runes, standing in a clearing, surrounded by smaller upright rectangular stones.]
SM: “So this is a-”
AC: “Oh, that looks safe!”
SM: “This is a relic. So we can go interact with this and this is like a Korvax relic, right? It teaches you an alien word, and you can, ahh, you get these little bits of almost like interactive fiction, right, choose your own adventure.”
SM: “…are you kind of a Kirk, or a Picard, right?”
SM: “Do you go around being really respectful of these alien planets, that you’re going to, or do you-”
AC: “Yeah, that’s the respect gun that he’s using right there.”
SM: “Shooting some plutonium crystals.”
AC: “That’s the environmental respect gun.”
SM: “I should be using my mining laser, right. And that’s the other thing in the game. A big part of exploration is finding the resources on planets around you. You’re using those resources to build technology and to do things like recharge your shield, recharge your protection. That’s another big part of the game is survival. So you can be in, like, an extremely cold planet.”
AC: “Yeah, I notice every once in a while we’re taking-”
SM: “We’re taking damage, ‘cos we’re getting really cold now. So I can pop in here, into my weapon, and install some new technology. I’m using silicon and sulphur, and I can build this land disruptor. And now that I have that, I can start making some holes in the world.”
[shoots and vaporizes the size of a small hill]
AC: “Oh. Good. That’s a whole new level of respect for the environment.”
SM: “Right. So we’ve found some caves, right, and it’s nice and warm down here, so we’re out of the cold.”
[enters eldritch cave full of glowing floaty ruby lights]
AC: “Man, this looks so cool. I love this.”
SM: “So I knew that there was a cave down here, but that wasn’t just luck, ‘cos there are caves actually pretty much everywhere on this planet. They go on for kilometers. You just go down and start exploring.”
[fires at side of cave, vaporizing both rock and glowing floaty ruby lights, and creating a tunnel back onto the surfacer]
SM: “Once I have a gun like this and I’ve kind of upgraded myself in this way, I can find those, I can find resources that no one else has found before, or I can make my own little shelters. So, a big part of exploring as well is finding – and a big part of sci-fi – is finding like, new life forms, right?”
[encounters a field of giant crawling ticks]
SM: “So you can like scan these guys, and then you can name then. You can name the planets that you’ve been to, you can name the solar systems that you discover, name any creatures that you see, and if you do, then when other people come to those planets, they’ll see those same names. They’ll see whatever stupid name you think up…”
AC: “I’m just gonna name them all after me. Oh, that’s an anthony. What’s it eating? Oh, it’s eating an anthony. What planet is this? Planet Anthony.”
This is one game I’ll be skipping.
You know what I want? I want No Man’s Sky as designed by N.K. Jemisin. And with a different name.