No Man's Sky is an action-adventure survival video game developed and published by the indie studio Hello Games for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows. The game was released worldwide in August 2016. The gameplay of No Man's Sky is built on four pillars: exploration, survival, combat, and trading. Players are free to perform within the entirety of a procedurally generated deterministic open universe, which includes over 18 quintillion (1.8×1019) planets,[b] many with their own sets of flora and fauna.
Players participate in a shared universe, with the ability to exchange planet information with other players, though the game is also fully playable offline; this is enabled by the procedural generation system that assures players find the same planet with the same features, lifeforms, and other aspects once given the planet coordinates, requiring no further data to be stored or retrieved from game servers. Nearly all elements of the game are procedurally generated, including star systems, planets and their ecosystems, flora, fauna and their behavioural patterns, artificial structures, and alien factions and their spacecraft. The founder of Hello Games, Sean Murray, had wanted to create a game that captured the sense of exploration and optimism of science fiction writings and art of the 1970s and 1980s with No Man's Sky. The title was developed over three years by a small team at Hello Games with promotional and publishing help from Sony Interactive Entertainment. The British band 65daysofstatic assisted in developing the game's music, with sound designer Paul Weir developing systems to procedurally generate the soundtrack.
Significant attention and expectations were given to the title in the months leading to its release, leading Murray and some journalists to recommend caution due to the indie nature and niche appeal of the title, seeking to avoid the pitfalls that had previously occurred at the launch of Spore in 2008. At release, the game received a wide range of mixed reviews, praising the technical achievements of the procedurally-generated universe, while considering the gameplay lackluster and repetitive. No Man's Sky also suffered several technical problems at launch, while lacking several marketed features, including a multiplayer element, that further marred the players' experience with the game.
Hello Games has expressed commitment to fixing technical issues with the release as well as plans to expand features of the game in time, but otherwise has not communicated with the community following the release window, further straining reactions from players. Though the game was a top retail and digital seller in August 2016 in both the United Kingdom and North America, player interest quickly waned at a faster-than-normal rate and perception of the title plummeted to an overwhelmingly negative level in the months following release. The promotion and marketing hype for No Man's Sky has become a subject of debate, with at least one advertising industry group reviewing their materials for any potential breaches and false advertising.