For a game that has seemingly been shrouded in mystery for a long while, No Man’s Sky sure is surrounded by a huge amount of hype and anticipation. No Man’s Sky is an upcoming adventure survival video game developed and published by the indie studio Hello Games. The game has had a few showings here and there but for the most part the only thing that’s absolutely certain is the quintessential role that exploration plays in the game. It’s now clear that there is a bit more depth to the game with players able to trade, fight, explore, and survive in a boundless, computer-generated universe.
Just recently, No Man’s Sky was revealed to have a release date of June 21st and is now available to preorder for the PlayStation website here. Notably, the game is currently priced at a full retail price of $60 and is available to pre-order digitally or on physical media. Sean Murray from Hello Games said on the official PlayStation blog that
No Man’s Sky will have a full blown Blu-ray retail version! Sony has a history of working closely with indies, and this feels like some sort of culmination of that story. It means more people will have a chance to join us in exploring the universe than ever before. I can’t really imagine what it will feel like to walk into a shop and see our game on a shelf.
It’s very rare and some might even say unprecedented for an independently developed indie game to get this kind of AAA treatment with a full $60 price tag and a blu-ray retail release. Hello Games has previously released mobile games including Joe Danger and Joe Danger 2: The Movie, but the quality of No Man’s Sky is nowhere close to such titles and should fans really be shocked by the price of No Man’s Sky? I think the problem lies more with the fact that No Man’s Sky is blurring the lines between what we would define as “Indie” and “AAA” and that’s why some people have been split over the decision.
This generation has set an unprecedented for Indie games already with the sheer amount of them available on consoles. Before this current generation, we would often come to expect more AA or AAA games to release throughout any given month in the last generation of consoles but the rise of the Indie realm has certainly had its effect on current gen consoles and we currently see them vastly outnumber bigger titles available on both major systems. There have been some real gems among these influx of Indie titles such as Ori and the Blind Forest, Transistor, Oxenfree, Rocket League and more but none of these have been priced at $60 and thus setting a new precedent with No Man’s Sky.
Don’t misunderstand me, Indie titles bring some truly great, unique experiences to consoles that otherwise AAA games alone would not be able to capture and the focus on Indie games, especially by Sony has been welcome this gen in introducing and promoting many quality smaller titles that many might have otherwise neglected. However, this surge of Indie games and just their pricing history has imprinted a belief in the minds of many that Indie titles should cost around $20 (or local equivalent). Jonathan Blow’s latest game The Witness which was priced at $40 recently raised the bar for the pricing of Indie games but even at $40 many still complained.
For obvious reasons, I cannot speak on behalf of all of those who have been complaining about the $60 price tag for No Man’s Sky but if I had to venture a guess I would attribute this to the fact that there is a conception in the minds of some that Indie games don’t offer the quality or depth that a full priced AAA game offers. However, if anything, No Man’s Sky in particular seems to buck this trend. I cannot even conceive of a AAA game that has promised the same amount of virtually limitless exploration that No Man’s Sky boasts so why is it that some of us can’t get over that $60 price tag.
There’s no denying that No Man’s Sky is going to be huge, it’s so big that there will be about 18 billion unique and explorable planets. So huge that if everyone on Earth were to discover 500 planets per minute in No Man’s Sky, it would still take around 10 years to discover every planet. While there are doubts over exactly how unique these different planets will be from one another and how much variety will be offered, it remains clear that the team behind No Man’s Sky has indisputably gone to great lengths to forge this kind of exploration-driven experience with No Man’s Sky.
Before you make any hasty comments or decisions please remember that Hello Games is a very small studio and to create something this ambitious truly is something quite unprecedented for the Indie market. Some will be deterred by the $60 price tag but if you’ve been excited for No Man’s Sky then I wouldn’t allow something as nonsensical as a $60 price tag deter you from enjoying a game you had been looking forward to. No Man’s Sky is due out this summer and while it will be sensible to wait what the verdicts are upon release, the ambition and scope of the game alone justify the price tag so don’t get too hung up on it as No Man’s Sky may be laying the groundwork for more ambitious big-scale “Indie” games that also blur the lines between what we define as “Indie” or “AAA” and that is an exciting future as long as the game is worthy of the full price tag.
How do you feel about No Man’s Sky shaking up what it means to be an “Indie” game? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.