Today is August 9, 2016 and for many of you that may mean very little, but for hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of eager PS4 gamers around the planet this is a day that is very likely more hotly anticipated than Christmas, or the Super Bowl, or any Birthday that has ever come or gone. This is the day that: No Man’s Sky finally releases.
For those of you may not be connoisseurs of procedurally generated space-trekking fantasies, let me explain. No Man’s Sky is a sci-fi exploration video game that was first teased in 2013 at the VGX Awards for the PlayStation 4 via this trailer:
This brief trailer instantly captured the hearts and minds of gamers around the world with its promise of freedom, excitement, and a truly next-generation gaming experience. With each subsequent trailer the hype grew, but delay after delay made many wonder if the developer, Hello Games, had promised too much. All those doubts can now be laid to rest, however, as No Man’s Sky has finally released today to a ravenous audience and the early buzz so far is mostly positive.
However, despite years of development (and a hefty day one patch) one feature remains notably absent from the game’s hit list: virtual reality support. No Man’s Sky does not have, and seems to have no definitive plans for, VR support, despite Sean Murray, Managing Director at Hello Games on No Man’s Sky, thinking the game is “perfect” for VR.
This is baffling and frustrating to many in the community and below are 4 reasons why this omission seems so glaring.
No Man’s Sky is an exploration and discovery game shown completely in first person. It is also a cockpit shooter, one of VR’s few bread-and-butter genres at this time. There is literally no part of the game that would not be made more impactful inside of a VR headset. Flying to new world’s, battling in space or on the ground, meeting new creatures and gathering new elements, all of these moments would get a nice boost from VR by the very nature of their design.
As someone who has played a lot of VR games, I have to say that the way No Man’s Sky seems to play mechanically fits perfectly in the immersive category. Watching the trailers I would absolutely believe that the gunplay, traversal, exploration, and survival mechanics were all designed for VR from the ground up. The game honestly seems like one flipped switch away from being able to run in VR.
That’s horribly reductive of course, but it would certainly be more natural for No Man’s Sky to achieve this goal than almost any other non-VR game on the market right now.
Hello Games has been very clear that one of the most important parts of the player experience they have spent years working towards is immersion. In an open letter to fans, the studio even wrote that it wants them to feel like they “have stepped through a science fiction book cover.”
I have nothing against PlayStation 4 or PC gaming, but if there is any medium that would be perfect for achieving this goal its VR. It’s a piece of technology that’s almost literally ripped out of sci-fi novels directly.
The PS VR
PlayStation VR, Sony’s hotly anticipated entry into the VR industry, is releasing this October. While it does have an impressive list of announced games it still lacks one Super Mario Bros. or Sonic The Hedgehog level entry to truly get fans to shell out $300+ for the system.
A game that could provide that killer app experience for the PS VR is absolutely No Man’s Sky. If the Hello Game opus was bundled with, or even just available for PS VR, Sony would need to hire a team of bulldozer operators just to keep the piles of money from barricading its office doors.
I know it’s petty, and perhaps even naive to expect a gaming studio to provide a certain features just because the fans want it, but hear me out here. The level of demand for a VR version of No Man’s Sky is perhaps only beaten by the demand for the base game itself amongst fans right now. It’s simply the game that every VR enthusiast would love to strap a headset on and play.
The Hello Games team would probably snap any object held in their hand if they read this. After a three year dev cycle that sounds like an absolute marathon, no one is suggesting that these guys and girls did not give the game their all. All we’re saying is that this game, perhaps more than any other, seems so perfect for VR that it’s a bit mind boggling that no announcement to this effect has been made officially.
It’s still possible that Sony and Hello Games will pull a last minute rabbit out of the hat and announce an eventual PS VR version of No Man’s Sky for the headset’s launch this October now that the heavy deving is done and the game is released.
Only time will tell. Back aboard the hype train for now, kids. This isn’t our stop after all.