Back when No Man’s Sky was first unveiled in 2014, Sony and developer Hello Games essentially made the title sound like a really, really big MMO. You’d start on your own planet, visit other planets and meet up with fellow explorers. As time has passed, it seems like this multiplayer focus fell by the wayside, and recently No Man’s Sky director Sean Murray has really tried to downplay expectations.
To be super clear - No Man's Sky is not a multiplayer game. Please don't go in looking for that experience.— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) August 8, 2016
The chances of two players ever crossing paths in a universe this large is pretty much zero.— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) August 8, 2016
He’s right: Statistically, it’s essentially impossible for two players to meet amongst the 18 quintillion planets in No Man’s Sky, but Hello Games hasn’t said it can’t happen, and in fact it did. On the game’s first day of release.
Yesterday Twitch streamer TheSadCactus discovered the planet he had landed on had been explored by fellow Twitch user Psytokat. The two contacted each other and planned a meet up, which they simultaneously streamed. Sure enough they both managed to get to the same landmark on a nearby planet, but something was missing…
…namely, neither player could see each other. They were at the same spot in the galaxy, but they may as well have been in alternate universes. This would seem to confirm there isn’t a true multiplayer aspect to No Man’s Sky. You can run across a planet or creature that’s been discovered/named by another player, but not directly interact with anybody.
Or maybe you actually can? Sean Murray got wind of the meet up, and his response was rather cagey.
Two players finding each other on a stream in the first day - that has blown my mind— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) August 10, 2016
We added a 'scan for other players' in the Galactic Map to try to encourage this happening. We wanted it to happen - but the first day?— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) August 10, 2016
We hope to see those happening... but too many of you are playing right now. More than we could have predicted— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) August 10, 2016
Is Murray implying TheSadCactus and Psytokat not being able to see each other was the result of server strain? Has the feature been turned off while the game deals with launch day overload? Murray says they wanted players to meet, which seems to indicate they may have greater plans for multiplayer.
Of course, this won’t affect the way most people play No Man’s Sky. Again, it’s extremely unlikely you’d ever stumble across anybody else while playing. Still, it would be nice to know that you can. The knowledge that you’re not alone in the universe is kind of a powerful thing, so hopefully Hello Games finds a way to make No Man’s Sky a little less lonely.