“No Man’s Sky” reviews aren’t live on its release date, and that might actually be a good thing. With space exploration planned, here’s what to like about the idea of media silence on day one.
1) Better Exploration: The whole point of “No Man’s Sky” is to let public and press alike explore and discover a “limitless” universe or 18 quintillion planets. By keeping the media blocked out until launch, that process is kept pure. Not many planets, creatures or elements will be revealed any sooner than they have to be.
By lifting the lid all at once, the “No Man’s Sky” experience is essentially made more real. Everyone is entering this universe at the same time with roughly the same amount of knowledge. That’s a rare and interesting feat for games.
2) Everyone Is Learning Together: Even though “No Man’s Sky” is finally in our hands, there’s still plenty of secrecy surrounding it. Pre-launch trailers gave us clues about the main pillars of the experience, but how we blend those concepts is totally unknown. Which elements craft the best supplies? What’s the fastest way to the center of the universe? How does one survive on the most hostile planets? Nobody has any idea.
With that ambiguity in mind, there’s a chance for this loner exploration game to become a truly communal journey. As we write, Reddit threads are popping up all over the Internet with strategies, recipes and other hints. Taking cue from its contemporaries like “Dark Souls,” “No Man’s Sky’s” release date is focused on discussion rather than being hunched over a monitor.
3) Players Can Make Up Their Own Minds: Anyone that’s even a moderate gamer knows that release dates usually come with a routine. Interested buyers swarm to sites like IGN and GameSpot, and, if the game scores lower than an eight, purchases and pre-orders are halted.
Instead of being shackled to the beliefs of a few critics, without numbers, the public has a lot more freedom in its response. That’s pretty cool, because now the audience itself can more effectively determine if this experimental product flourishes or squanders. Reviews will obviously color perceptions later in the week, but it’s not happening now.
4) It’s Different: “No Man’s Sky” has almost always been marketed as a game that’s unique from a design perspective. Instead of using pre-rendered assets, its entire map is procedurally generated by a single equation. Through this method, the first game with practically limitless content was made. In contrast to the traditional narrative ending, this concept could take billions of years to fully understand. Most shocking of all is that the entire thing was accomplished by a team of about 20 people.
With those bleeding-edge qualities in mind, we love that “No Man’s Sky’s” indie creators at Hello Games have broken convention by shirking the standard review cycle. It fits with everything that this game is about. It beats to its own drum, so its critical procedure should too. In a way, the decision to withhold reviews adds to the small-town perception of the finished product.
5) Stops A Grease Fire Launch: One of the biggest problems with the modern critical cycle is that games are often destroyed by the public the minute reviews go live. If scores are low, then a lot less people invest. Forums flood with negative comments about the development team, and fights break out between haters and enthusiasts attempting to justify their pre-orders.
Over its delays and years of development, “No Man’s Sky” has become an exceptionally polarizing game with cult-like devotees and equally pessimistic skeptics. Especially if reviews came out negatively early on, those established battle lines scream a launch grease fire. Negativity spreads quickly, and “No Man’s Sky” defenders would do everything necessary to stop it. Instead of having that battle at release, today is rightly focused on discovery and exploration.
“No Man’s Sky” is available now on PS4. The PC version launches Aug. 12.
How do you feel about the “No Man’s Sky” review situation? Are you glad for the media silence? Tell us in the poll and comments section!