No Man’s Sky Is Shaking Up What It Means To Be An “Indie” Game

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.


Have your say!

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  1. No Man’s Sky is definitely intriguing and I’ll wait to hear about the wheat critics are saying before jumping on board to go discover any of the 18 billion planets.

    As for “ambition and scope justifying the $60” that’s quite a statement… I mean so if a game advertises that it’s the best and biggest ever developed it should instantly stand that it’s worth $60?!?

    Guess we’ll see hopefully this summer just what this game has to offer; and honestly wether it’s labeled indie or AAA that alone won’t deter my decision as if a game is worth $60.

  2. Too bad.

    At least, there will be missing something huge… in my opinion.

    OK, people can trade, kill,travel, upgrade the spaceship, upgrade the suits, etc, but…

    This game could have on the top 5 best games ever, if…

    We could do this, which, for me, would justify playing it over and over.

    I wish we could find a planet, AN THEN

    Be able to bring some species, human or aliens, and start a civilization. Today, we have a couple of those people, in one week, they could be 50. Then, 200. Etc etc.

    We could then build new buildings, harvest different stuff,etc. We could bring some scientists, doctors, or even teachers, from other planets. We could look for some special materials, far away, that would be necessary for our evolution, like building more solid buildings (special concrete formula. .), new weapons( that special diamond/rubi only found on some special planets, could be used to build an ultra powerful weapon..), or that special alloy, made with 3 materials only found on planet x34433234, x34433234 and y32323322, could be used on our spaceship, that would have said shield capable of handling 50’000 degrees, vs 10’000 degrees, and could allow us to visit some rare melting planets…)

    This is just a couple of ideas among 10’000 other ideas that could exist…

    By being able to populate a planet, eventually, manage to have enough people to create a village. . Then, a city. . Then, many cities, countries.. even continents… and let that people on that particular planet evolve a little.. or a lot..
    We could then have other players visit our planets, help us improving it, helping attacking other planets, offer us some special upgrades, or skills, inventions, from a special potato to a transistor. .. etc etc…

    I mean, there would be so so many other possibilities, with the human/harvest/evolution/cities/countries/alliance, for each player, for each planet…

    It could be fantastic, this kind of mix of mass effect, Sim city, age of empire, starcraft, etc.

    Because without that, what is everybody going to do, after their 10th planet.. with those 40 animals that look like 95% the same… or after we sell and buy the best 20 items we need to do, go, see, upgrade, visit, everything, in the game… or after we have killed our 450th T-rex clone… or after we have destroyed the 60th enemy spaceship…

    Will I return to Geralt the sorcerer ‘world’ ? Sure I will.

    • Sounds unbelievable. Well, I don’t see what you’re describing coming any time soon To any platform

      Oh well, . Pity pity, stupid open ended RPG universe game made by less people than the amount who work on JUST Nathan Drakes facial animations 😉 not kidding either.? ^^^^ fact

      Better start coding it yourself then……………….?

  3. 60 bucks for this game when star citizien is coming way stronger in the future it’s stupid, no man sky doesn’t have enough content to justify 60 bucks, they just lost a customer

    • Are you fucking retarded? The game isn’t even out yet, you don’t know if it has enough money to justify the price tag. Stop talking out of your ass and wait for the game to release you illiterate fucktard.

      • You fanboys are always amusing, you really can’t see past your own nose, thank you, you gave me a good laugh <3

        • Thing is, Star Citizen actually deserves a 60 dollar price tag due to it’s insane development and marketing costs. This game is a indie game developed by an indie team, which made pretty much everything in the game procedural, which is fucking lazy as hell. No Mans sky is a 60 dollar game, that’s not worth 60 dollars.

      • Illiterate fucktatd, ooooohhhj that’s goita huyrt 😀

    • It sound like you were never going to be a customer to begin with, so it’s not much of a loss.

      • Nah I was pretty hyped for the game 2 years ago, but star citizen looks like it’s going to have the same but better, so yeah indie devs wanting to charge 60 bucks, they are funny guys

        • See, I don’t understand the whole “They’re indie, they should be cheaper” argument.

          What is the justification for a lower price? Are they not taking a larger risk being a smaller team shooting for such a big game, without a publisher to pad their wallets if it does not work out?

          I think out of everyone, indie studios are the most entitled to charge what they want for their games.

          • Well it’s actually pretty easy to understand. This is why typically an indie game cost less than a AAA title; development cost, marketing costs. It’s that simple. No mans sky doesn’t have nowhere near the size of a team most triple a titles require, and since there is no info about it’s development cost(Almost like it’s concealed) I can’t make an completely factual statement about No Mans Sky development cost, but I guarantee it’s no where near the cost of a triple A title.

            This game is made with systems that generate pretty much every thing you see. There is very few things that are actually handcrafted, and that is incredibly lazy, but hey, what can you expect? It’s and Indie team. This game does not deserve to be released at a triple a title price point.

          • I think making statements that the work they are doing is “incredibly lazy” and that they do “not deserve” to price their game the way the want is incredibly ignorant.

            Not only do you not have the insight into what their production costs are, but you have no idea what sort of work they have been putting in. Even more so, being a smaller team means that multiple people are taking on multiple tasks at once. I don’t think that just because their indie means that you can presume that they do not go through the same turmoils as a AAA team.

            This feels like a well made, HUGE game, and it is FAIR to be priced as such. Would I appreciate a lower price? Yes, of course I would like to save some money. Do I appreciate the type of game they are making for me and the potential it has? Absolutely, which is why I preordered right when they hit the market, along with many other fans of the game. The fact that they ran out of preorders tells me they priced this game exactly the way they should have.

          • Ok, for One, I mentioned the size of the triple A teams because right before that I mentioned development costs, A typical sized triple A team cost alot of Money.

            The only tasks they had to put in after they made the procedural universe is bug testing and marketing, and the small amount of hand crafted stuff to flesh out the content they know the player will see, because since it’s procedural, the game basically made its self. I understand that it would be impossible to completely hand design/craft a game of this scope with 1,000,000,000,000,000 or whatever planets, and asking them to would be a bit extreme, but what they are doing, which is relying on a procedural system for the vast majority of their game is lazy in the context of a 60 dollar price tag! What can you expect though? This is an indie game developed by a small team. What they have done is pretty amazing, with what appears to be an amazing procedural system, which nobody can dispute.

            Take Star Citizen as a comparison, if you would. They are creating a world with something like 300 star systems, each with about 7 to 8 planets. That is nowhere near as much much as No Mans Sky, but here’s the thing, Star citizens planets are said to be 40% handcrafted and 60% procedural, leaving the planets very fleshed out. That is really amazing, but Star citizen is being being led by a large team , with a triple a budget of over a 100 million dollars, Right now you can pick it up for 45 dollars, although it isn’t finished yet obviously.

            By the way, I have the 150 dollar pc edition of No Mans Sky on preorder due to the fact I like space games and I like what the dev team is trying to accomplish, but I wont ignore the facts that it is an indie game.

          • “The only tasks they had to put in after they made the procedural universe is bug testing and marketing.”

            You need to watch some of their videos on how they made the game then, because there is way more than bug testing and marketing going on. You think the character models, ship models, and art just created itself? Along with the music and sounds? And the algorithms that went into creating this universe came out of nowhere? I don’t get where you are connecting “procedural” with “EVERYTHING creating itself.”

            And you are also arguing against the price they set, but still purchased it, at the limited edition no less. Any argument against the price is pretty much invalid if you end up voting for it with your wallet in the end.

          • Wow, just wow. I know why this is an argument now, you don’t know any thing. I’m gonna leave you with a few definitions of Procedural language and procedural generation.

            Techopedia explains Procedural Language

            “Procedural language, as the name implies, relies on predefined and well-organized procedures, functions or sub-routines in a program’s architecture by specifying all the steps that the computer must take to reach a desired state or output.

            Procedural language segregates a program within variables, functions, statements and conditional operators. Procedures or functions are implemented on the data and variables to perform a task. These procedures can be called/invoked anywhere between the program hierarchy, and by other procedures as well. A program written in procedural language contains one or more procedures.

            Procedural language is one of the most common programming languages in use with notable languages such as C/C++, Java, ColdFusion and PASCAL.”


            – wikipedia and procedural generation

            “In computing, procedural generation is a method of creating data algorithmically as opposed to manually. In computer graphics it is commonly used to create textures and 3D models. In video games it is used to create large amounts of content in a game.”


            You basically made my point for me, good for you.

            And last, but not least-


            If you would actually do research on the game, the music is actually proceduraly generated!!! Not all, but most is!

            Also the procedural system they are using actually does create all the plant life and character models in the game! There is very little in this game actually handcrafted, there is some, like the main character, ships and I’m gonna guess the center of the universe which is why I said “and the small amount of hand crafted stuff to flesh out the content they know the player will see”

            Let me finish that quote you butchered from my post to make your weak point. “This game is made with systems that generate pretty much every thing you see. There is very few things that are actually handcrafted”. Now lets pick apart of this quote shall we? In the first sentence “pretty much” in this context implies that pretty much everything is proceduraly generated, it however does not imply that every thing is. In the second sentence I use “very few” which in this context very obviously implies that there is some handcrafted stuff in the game, but there isn’t much of it. I’m very surprised that with the basic knowledge of how to spell simple words, that you wouldn’t pick up on simple points like that. I guess from here on out, I’ll treat you to your level of literacy, which seems very low.

          • 1. The moment you mentioned you bought the game, your argument about it being “too expensive” went out the window. Way to waste your time putting this together.

            2. The moment you start attacking someone personally means you know you lost. I never attacked you personally calling you illiterate; I only argued against what you were saying about the topic.

            Feel free to reply; I won’t read it. I’m not arguing with someone that cannot be civil and leave personal remarks out of it. Cheers!

          • Or I just have money to waste? And I like to support games that support space sims? Kinda like I said.

            I called you illiterate because you are. If you don’t want to be called that then stop being it, I definitely didn’t lose this argument.


        • My albeit biased opinion?

          No Mans Sky is true to heart science fiction. Make of that what you will.

          Star Citizen is COD in Space, I mean fucking lmao you’re STILL SHOOTING BULLETS and using AKs and assault rifles ?

          • Funny thing is your comment sounds more biased than his.

    • The limited edition for ps4 is already out of stock on Amazon, and that’s priced at 79 bucks….I don’t think they’re sweating your lack of enthusiasm for their game.

    • Goodie you entitled nerd lol.?? One is for PC only, and one is both PC and console. But nice try troll 😉

  4. To the author….you look like a young kid, perhaps just getting started in games journalism? But even so, when you say “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.”, you’re not doing your homework. The correct number of planets is 18 quintillion, not 18 billion.

    The difference between those two numbers is staggering….18 quintillion is 18 billion billions, a number that is incomprehensible to the human scale of thinking. 18 billion looks like this 18,000,000,000….18 quintillion looks like this 18,000,000,000,000,000,000. And even if 10 million people buy No Man’s Sky, there is no chance that even if all of those people discover 1 planet every minute that all the planets would be discovered before our own Sun exhausts it’s nuclear fuel and goes red giant and engulfs the Earth in approximately 5 billion years from now.

    • If one planet was discovered every second? It would tale roughly 584 billion years to discover them all. If every person on planet Earth played this game? All 7 billion plus of us? Well you do the math, I’m too high for this right now lol? Oh, and did I mention bank to robberies in No Mans Sky, cuz that’s a thing now ;D

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