3. Voyage to the Center
“That journey will take like a long time,” Murray says. “If you know what you’re doing and all of that kind of thing, some speed runner will prove me wrong, but [it’s] like 40 to 100 hours. A good length of time. But that is doing absolutely nothing else but traveling forward and that is min-maxing it, knowing exactly what you're doing. I hope that's not what the majority of players do. I hope they get really distracted and end up actually on the outer edge of the galaxy in a trade route that they really enjoy and not doing anything else. For some players they end up trying to see how long it would take them to walk around a planet or become the galaxy’s botanist or whatever. But for some players they will only want to make that journey, and that's cool.”

Murray says he understands the drive to find a goal, but he adds that he doesn’t think that it’s why so many people seem to be inspired by No Man’s Sky’s potential. “If you look at the people who are interested in our game, they don’t talk about, ‘I can’t wait to be the first person to go to the center of the galaxy.’ They often just talk about wanting to explore the worlds and fly around and do their own things. And I don’t want to tell them, ‘No, that means you’re not a good player at No Man’s Sky.’”

What’s in the center? Murray is understandably cagey about that, but he did share a few details with us. First, don’t expect something along the lines of what people found in the center of the Curiosity Cube. “Just to be clear, it's not just going to run a video of me saying, ‘Hi, welcome to the center of the galaxy.’  I can confirm it's not going to be a link to a YouTube video. Inside a box.”

Murray says that players will want to share the experience with their friends, even though the team is trying to temper players’ multiplayer expectations. “Are you gonna want your friends to join you there? Yeah, without giving too much away, yes.”

Stripped to its most ludicrously basic level, here’s The Point of No Man’s Sky: Harvest resources (or fight A.I.-controlled ships) to acquire wealth. Purchase and refuel a new ship. Head deeper into the galaxy, toward the center. Repeat. Of course, reducing it to that degree eliminates everything that makes the game so incredible, including the wondrous sense of exploration and discovery, but that’s the core of its gameplay loop.

 

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