Iterative Discovery in No Man’s Sky

Keoni Eckinger
4 min readOct 15, 2020

Part 1

No Man’s Sky set the collective video game community abuzz when it was announced in December of 2013. A fusion of programming prowess and game design that would allow its players to explore an essentially limitless outer-space, together, culminating in the idea of a game that many people were intrigued by. As years passed and further details emerged, the anticipation in the gaming industry and scientific community continued to grow. We were finally presented with No Man’s Sky in August of 2016. Fans were impressed by the sense of discovery and mystery the game instilled, while many others were disappointed by a lack of multiplayer and threadbare overlapping gameplay systems. Controversies dominated the game and its developers, Hello Games. Disapproving voices assumed they’d be stuck with yet another emaciated, full price experience.

Hello Games continued to support No Man’s Sky in an honest endeavor to evolve and improve. The game has seen numerous large patches and content updates, from small, quality of life adjustments to more systemic overhauls that have transformed the moment to moment gameplay. The first of such updates arrived in November 2016 and implemented the building and gardening systems. Hello Games continued to patch regularly and stayed consistent in releasing a major update every year since launch. The No Man’s Sky of today is a demonstrably different product than what was offered at launch and lesser studios would have seized the opportunity to bill it as a sequel for $60.

My experience with No Man’s Sky was limited at release, as I was pre-occupied with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Upon recollection, my feelings regarding No Man’s Sky were decidedly more positive than I had expected given the concentrated voices of anger at release. The enjoyment of discovering a new planet or cataloging the local flora and fauna held my attention for 15–20 hours before I ultimately moved on. I’m overjoyed at the prospect of revisiting this universe again with a friend, utilizing the recently implemented cross-platform multiplayer which will allow me to play on PC while he’s on PS4. Of the myriad changes and improvements, I’m most excited to test the multiplayer as this was the subject of much contention at release. I’ll be providing you with regular updates detailing my journey over the coming days.

Please consider following me on Medium or Twitter so you can stay up to date with the adventure. Also, let me know your thoughts about No Man’s Sky, has it been worth your time?

Lastly, I’ll finish with a quote from the book that inspired me to jump back into No Man’s Sky.

“Where are we? Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost between two spiral arms in the outskirts of a galaxy which is a member of a sparse cluster of galaxies, tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. This perspective is a courageous continuation of our penchant for constructing and testing mental models of the skies; the Sun as a red-hot stone, the stars as a celestial flame, the Galaxy as the back-bone of night.” Sagan, Carl, Cosmos,(Carl Sagan Productions, Inc., 1980), p.159.

Please consider following me on Medium or Twitter so you can stay up to date with the adventure. Also, let me know your thoughts about No Man’s Sky, has it been worth your time? Thanks for taking the time to read this piece, for better or worse I poured my heart into it’s creation. Please feel free to comment or ask me questions, I’d enjoy hearing what you’re doing to battle the encroaching darkness, what are you listening to, playing, reading? My love of music, video games, art, and writing are serendipitously beginning to coalesce. My intentions are unclear to me at this point, but extolling these things I find lovely provides some solace. As I carve a path forward, I’ll discuss video games I’m interested in, old and new, as well as anything else I find fascinating. I’ll try my hand at more traditional reviews if readers take kindly to that format as well. I’d certainly like suggestions and constructive criticism from readers as nothing worth doing has been done in total solitude. If you’d like to donate to my Patreon so I can keep doing this I’d greatly appreciate it.



Keoni Eckinger

Hi, I’m Keoni, thanks for stopping by. I write about video games and other topics I find interesting. Tune in regularly for more reviews and editorials.