Theres a mystery embedded deeply in No Man’s Sky, a McGuffin intended to propel players through the nearly infinite expanse of the Hello Games blockbuster: What is at the center of the universe? Players have spent hours in pursuit of the game’s center, hoping to find answers to its myriad of questions. What is the Atlas? Why are the Sentinels such dicks? What’s my end-game reward for reaching the end of No Man’s Sky?
Here’s a spoiler that’s not a spoiler: It doesn’t matter much.
Players have found their way to the narrative and universal core, so the mystery is gone. And there was no big reveal, anyway. There’s no deeper understanding of the title’s inner workings; you will not find out what’s up with the game’s species, or the artificial intelligence patrols – or anything else for that matter.
When you reach the center of the Universe, No Man’s Sky hits the reset button, sending the player back to the very beginning of the game, stranded with no supplies on a random alien world. That’s it. People have said that the game itself is like life.
Let Down? Then You Missed the Point.
No Man’s Sky has never been about reaching the end. It’s about the sense of discovery that accompanies wandering through the galaxy. The game is focused on diversity and an experience of solitary accomplishment.
Creator Sean Murray has never really kept that a secret. Before the release of No Mans Sky, he told a panel, “We wanted to create the feeling of landing on a planet and knowing that no one had ever been there before.”
After the game’s release, Murray doubled down on that philosophy, telling gamereactor.eu, “[Hello Games] personally never saw [reaching the center] as the point of the game. But a certain set of gaming and media press, and also some gamers, that made them just feel a lot better, they were like oh there is a goal, okay that’s fine then.”
No Man’s Sky Is Still a Work in Progress
Hello Games has pledged to continue its work on No Mans Sky by releasing bug fixes and eventually content updates as they’re completed. So, one day there might be some reason to hit the center of the Universe. For now, the only reason for reaching the end of Atlas’s path is to lose all your progress to date.
So, go out and explore, get killed in some gruesome ways, trade until you have millions of credits, kill trade convoys for fun… just don’t concern yourself with “finishing” the game.
Perhaps Murray allowed people to let the Center seem more important than it actually is, but he’s never intentionally sold No Man’s Sky as a game with an end (or even a plot, really). Just as in life, the purpose of the game is what you make of it, and the end is one huge mystery that will never truly be solved. At least not while you’re on this plane of existence.