The Most Fascinating New Video Game Is “Boring” On Purpose

July 1, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

A small team of developers who defected from the big game companies, came together in 2008 to form Hello Games, and independent game developing team that created Joe Danger. Now, they’re about to release something more ambitious than what most studios ever accomplish. No Man’s Sky is an MMORPG that takes place in a realistic universe. There are no goals or challenges and other players are lightyears away. The universe is infinite. It self-generates using a series of algorithms, designed by the programmers. As the players “discover” more of the landscape, more is generated.

The game’s set up poses a challenge to gamers who are used to the nonstop stimulation of the majority of games on the market. The Verge wrote about the efforts No Man’s Sky makes towards realism in their profile:

The developers have set themselves a 90–10 rule. 90 percent of all the planets will not be habitable and won’t have any life on them. Of the 10 percent that do, 90 percent of that life will be primitive and boring. The tiny fraction of garden worlds with more evolved life forms on them will thus be almost as rare in the game universe as they ought to be in the real one.

The designers even take into account the distance between each planet and its star to determine the likelihood of life developing there.

Sean Murray, the founder of Hello Games, thinks that this massive, quiet universe will make the happenstance encounters which do take place feel more meaningful to players. “Games are incredibly bad at making the rare feel rare,” he told The Verge. “Call of Duty is so worried about you not seeing an explosion every 15 seconds, that there’s never a quiet moment, there’s never a buildup. We’ve lost that ability to have even a feeling of ‘am I going the right way’ that we’re quite used to from real life.”

Possibly the most intriguing part of No Man’s Sky is that no one knows what will happen once it goes live. It’s a totally new kind of gaming world, and it’s possible that despite all existing on the same plane, users will find they’d rather explore on their own. Or perhaps they’ll build communities that will travel the ever-expanding cosmos together. Anything could happen.