No Man's Sky
Hello Games

Hype can be a dangerous and unpredictable thing.

Anticipation and excitement has a tendency to spiral out of control, particularly in the medium of video games where what is shown can vary so much from fluffed up screenshots to CG trailers to constructed gameplay sequences and if you're lucky, actual gameplay.

You can never be entirely sure whether what you're seeing is actually representative of the final product, but what gamers readily recognise with glee is potential. Take Ubisoft's Watch Dogs, which wowed the world two years ago with its next gen looks and new ways to play an open world game.

Whether it lived up to either of those selling points is a matter for debate, but part of the reason why there's even a debate is the hype that engulfed Watch Dogs from its announcement to release.

No Man's Sky

Such hype is created by developers, publishers and fans, and it's why British studio Hello Games seems to be striving to temper the hype surrounding No Man's Sky. But strive as they might, they are going to fail.

It began at last year's VGX Awards when the game debuted. It looked stunning, an open game built around space travel and the exploration of "infinite" randomly-generated worlds. Players will start on their own procedurally-generated planet with a ship and no set objective. From there they can go where they like, discover new planets, share them for the world to explore, enter dog-fights in space and improve their ship for combat or trade.

That was enough to get people excited, but the fact that it was being made by only a team of four (now ten) in particular caught everyone off guard. No offence to Hello Games' debut title Joe Danger, but how have they gone from that to this? In terms of scope it would be like the creator of Flappy Bird deciding his follow-up should be a game like Bethesda's Skyrim.

No Man's Sky

At E3 the game made its second public appearance during Sony's conference, with Hello Games' founder Sean Murray taking centre stage to talk about the game. It was here that he dropped that word "infinite".

Infinite isn't a word that should be thrown around lightly, but the more we see of No Man's Sky the more apt it seems. The extent to how infinite it really is could well be irrelevant; it's the scale and ambition of Hello Games' project that has us all salivating.

Following the conference, in interviews with the press, Murray seemed reluctant to fan the flames of anticipation. So clearly while outwardly hoping people's excitement for the game remains measured, Hello Games also knows it is on to something special.

Entertainment in its various forms is about story-telling and escapism. When it comes to the latter gaming has an edge that films and television don't, which makes games like No Man's Sky a reason why this is an industry that deserves to be taken seriously. Not necessarily for what it turns out to be, but for what it could be, and the wonder that it inspires in so many.

No Man's Sky