No Man’s Sky is what Star Trek Online should have been.

No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky is not a game about warfare. It’s a game about science.

No Man’s Sky released for PC on August 12, 2016 (still waiting on my collector’s edition box to arrive). I’ve been able to spend about 15 hours with the game so far. I’m far from the center of the galaxy; the pull to explore is often too strong for me to stay locked onto a singular path for too long. My time with the game has had both ups and downs. Overall, I am enjoying it immensely (technical issues notwithstanding.) The game is compelling, but its potential is even more exciting.

No Man’s Sky has had its fair share or criticism since launch. There appears to have been some miscommunication from the game’s marketing as to what the game actually was.

So, what is it? It’s a game about observing a procedurally generated universe with some technology crafting thrown in to facilitate said observation. It’s very large, and it’s very lonely. And, this concept is exactly what Star Trek Online should have been.

Star Trek Online

I don’t remember when I first heard that they were making a Star Trek massively multiplayer game. What I do remember is imagining what such a game could be. The various Star Trek television series and movies are, at their core, about science vessels on a mission to explore the universe and learn stuff. Having watched Star Trek ravenously as a youngster, the potential for an MMO was huge.

I had an entire game concept worked out in my head. Players would party up with their friends and man stations on a huge Federation star ship. They could live there and warp around the galaxy exploring planets, meeting weird aliens, and undergoing missions. You know, sort of like what they did in the TV series. Combat could have been a small part of the game; sometimes you just have to karate chop a Klingon or two.

I’m not a game designer, and I realize that most of what I envisioned is probably impossible for technical reasons. But, to me a proper Star Trek MMO absolutely had to be like what I was imagining.

Star Trek Online released in 2010. The game ended up being a pretty standard theme park MMO that is combat heavy and takes very few chances.

The spirit of Star Trek?
The spirit of Star Trek?

I’ve been thrilled that No Man’s Sky turned out to be like the Star Trek game I always wanted. Well, it’s closer to my original vision than what Star Trek Online turned out to be. There’s no crew or multiplayer (really), but the general concepts are all there. You warp around the universe discovering planets and cataloging the flora and fauna. You meet alien races and learn how to interact with them. You sometimes have to fight off unsavory pirates.

Most of the complaints I’ve read about No Man’s Sky have been about the very things I’m enjoying. It’s not perfect, but this was a harder game to make than a standard action game. This is something new and fresh. The developers of Star Trek Online didn’t take any risks. They didn’t reach for the brass ring.

If Hello Games will keep taking risks, No Man’s Sky could be something truly legendary (get that multiplayer worked out.) Again, the potential is intriguing.

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