Colbert Playing 'No Man's Sky' on the 'Late Show' Is Anti-Late Night

How to boundless exploration funny?

Hello Games

No Man’s Sky is going to be a ridiculously huge, borderline infinite sci-fi exploration game. Soon it’ll demo on late-night TV, one of the last venues you’d expect it to wind up.

On Friday, October 2, Hello Games founder Sean Murray will join Stephen Colbert on CBS’ Late Show for an interview and live demonstration of the game for PlayStation 4 and PC. An official release date hasn’t been revealed yet; October 2 might be when we learn more.

Though late-night television is rightfully an hour of fluff, it is a significant cultural moment for video games that No Man’s Sky is showing up at all. It isn’t Mario Kart (accessible, easy to understand) nor is it Grand Theft Auto or Mortal Kombat (violent and lewd, perfect for shock value). No Man’s Sky appears to be shaping up as a sui generis gaming experience — meditative, expansive, curiosity-driven.

In short, it seems perfect for making distinctly dull television.

In 2015, late night television exists for early morning YouTube hits. For video games, their presence on late night TV has typically been vehicles for a joke. What do you do when you have the suave, handsome Pierce Brosnan as a guest? Make him play GoldenEye, naturally. Because everyone who ever stepped inside a fraternity house in 1999 would’ve wanted it that way.

What do you do when you have two NFL players whose teams will be competing in the Super Bowl? Get them to kill each other in Mortal Kombat.

You understand these segments about video games without needing to understand the game. Their visual languages are easy to understand (shoot, fight, etc.), and there’s some inherent absurdity when casting the players. Pretty clearly, none of the celebs usually playing games here are actual game developers.

But in just a few short weeks, Colbert has shown that on his watch, the Late Show is happy to scrap the old scripts. Politicians and tech CEOs have sat and opened up honestly, a rare sight for the otherwise saccharine genre. And even that hasn’t prevented the sort of raw emotion that Vice President Joe Biden showed on his visit.

No one needs to shed tears while playing No Man’s Sky, but there’s a gravity Colbert brings his guests, a trusting aura for his audience, and well-balanced humor for everyone. So when Colbert plays No Man’s Sky, it’s going to be, as always, a true exploration of the mediums.

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