No Man’s Sky, although great in its vision, has set the standard for what open world games should NOT do. The reason open world games excluding No Man’s Sky have done well is because they have “technicalities… up to a high level, the attention to detail is incredible, [and] the entire virtual world has the ability to keep the players playing for hours.” (NotTheSingularity, 2016). Not to say that No Man’s Sky has no detail and ability to keep players entertained for long periods of time however, “The problem with exploration-driven gameplay at this scale is over-generalization, and you’ll notice it straight off in No Man’s Sky” (Peckham, 2016). Yes, No Man’s Sky has opened up the idea of having an extremely large open world game but it hasn’t reinvented the way game designers should make them.
Figure 1: Brief Galaxy Zoom Out of No Man’s Sky
“There is another thing about open-world games that I think we all know… The sad truth is, it’s almost impossible to have any kind of decent story in a sandbox game. Plot is built on characters, and a sandbox is basically a way of giving players permission to make their characters do whatever the hell they want.” – Diggy, 2015 (Game Reviewer)
With Diggy’s comment above, it becomes clear why games such as GTA and Assassin’s Creed, although also open world, stayed comfortably inside a set story. Even Minecraft has particular goals like slaying the Ender Dragon or killing the Wither. Open world games are great but like everything else, they have their limits and No Man’s Sky has demonstrated that.
Diggy, (2015). The Downside of Open World Games – GameSpew. [online] GameSpew. Available at: http://www.gamespew.com/2015/07/the-downsides-of-open-world-games/
Galaxy Map. (2016). Available at: http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2014/12/08/galactic-map-puts-scale-of-no-man-s-sky-in-perspective.aspx
Peckham, M. (2016). No Man’s Sky Review for Playstation 4. [online] Time.com. Available at: http://time.com/4444324/no-mans-sky-review/
PlayStation.Blog.Europe. (2014). Exploring the 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets of No Man’s Sky. [online] Available at: https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2014/08/26/exploring-18446744073709551616-planets-mans-sky/
Singularity, N. (2016). What makes open world games so attractive? | Not The Singularity. [online] Notthesingularity.com. Available at: http://notthesingularity.com/what-makes-open-world-games-so-attractive/