No Man’s Sky – Release The Coding

(This column is posted at,, and Steve’s Tumblr)

Last time I speculated on what would come next for No Man’s Sky. My take is that though it may have a good life (5-10 years) it’s going to end eventually. The comparative lack of interactivity is probably the killer.

My friend Serdar noted something that jumped the gun a bit in my analysis of the future – namely, that the studio should consider releasing the code. I was going that direction and wanted to expand on it.

So at some point I think NMS will end-of-life, and I’m leaning towards five years. But in that time – and at that time – Hello Games could do a few things.

First, I think they should release a planet generator that allows people to tweak various parameters – or randomize it. Serdar referred to the idea as a generator for Roger Dean Album Covers. I heartily concur. People might even pay a few bucks for it.

Secondly, the above planet generator? Pair it with some non-interactive exploration and music. After seeing what could be done on Panoramical, imagine what it’d be like to just jam to procedural music and scrolling alien landscapes?

Third, and foremost, at some point they should release all or most of the code of the game. Maybe license it, maybe free. Have the final legacy of No Man’s Sky (which will truly be foundational if it’s what they say it is), be the launching of even more children. It would doubly cement Hello Games legacy, and give innumerable people and groups and games a boost.

NMS could truly be world-changing. However there’s one more thing . . .

I think there will inevitably have to be a No Man’s Sky Next. No Man’s Sky-er. The Noer and the Manner Skye. Whatever.

Hello Games is going to learn an enormous amount of lessons from this. They will learn more about their code. They will learn more about players. They will release patches and updates and experience the limits of what their engine can do. They will, in short, be equipped to create a sequel that would outstrip what the original could do.

So, with NMS having a probable limited lifespan, my thoughts are this:

  1. Begin research for No Man’s Sky Next immediately.
  2. After a year or two release the “Roger Deanifier.” It’d also probably give any cooperative coders and 365 days of static a boost yes, I want them to team up with the guy behind Panormalical, OK?
  3. 3) As things calm down, begin work on No Man’s Sky Next – using the current NMS as a bit of a testbed.
  4. 4) When ready to release No Man’s Sky Next, drop the code of the original game on the internet.

Would releasing the code empower competitors? Doubtlessly, but you can be pretty sure they have and will have plenty. Releasing the code just cements the possibility of it.

And of course if done right, NMS Next would live on far longer than the first, becoming a doubtlessly deserved fixture.

– Steve