Hello Games' Sean Murray has demoed 20 minutes of gameplay from upcoming sci-fi exploration epic No Man's Sky, hoping to answer the question of what exactly the player does in the game. Yes, apparently a few people still need to be told.
The footage shows off the basic exploration gameplay, some crafting, resource collection, combat and space travel. Hello Games boss Murray discusses with the game with IGN's Ryan McCaffrey as he plays, lending context to his decisions.
Murray starts the demo on an icy, cold planet at night. It's -163 degrees Celsius on the surface, and Murray tells us first about the player's space suit, which can ward off the ill-effects of extreme temperature for a certain period of time. When he starts to feel the chill, Murray uses his upgraded, gun-like, multi-tool to blast away the environment and reveal a cave where the player can warm up again.
He also finds a monolith on the planet that can heal him, and from which he learns a little alien language. Later, at a base, he encounters an alien with whom the player can talk and trade items. You may only learn one word at a time, but eventually the player can decipher meaning and reap benefits of befriending alien species.
Murray also finds a factory with a blueprint inside. A good relationship might open up that factory, but the player can also hack its door or break in by force. Actions like this will attract the attention of Sentinels that maintain order in the galaxy and react to players that "upset the natural state of a planet" though breaking into buildings or mining too many crystals, for example.
A Wanted Level increases or decreases, and that corresponds to the size of the Sentinels that show up to dispatch the player. It's possible for entire trade ships to come after you.
Later, Murray leaves the planet and attacks a trade ship, shooting and destroying its cargo pods to release resources to be recovered but also attracting more Sentinels. After dying in space he respawns inside a space station and explores it, finding a window and showing off the gargantuan size of each planet. Another ship with an alien occupant also shows up which Murray says he could trade with or even buy.
The demo finishes with a look at the star map. Which continues to be exceptionally cool through its sheer enormity.