Warning: This post contains spoilers for No Man’s Sky
Some players are upset after spending hours to get to the galactic center, only to find out what they that the center is not what they expected.
It may sound like reaching the galactic center in No Man’s Sky would bring about some sort of gigantic revelation or epiphany to the player, or perhaps reveal some sort of God-like figure, waiting to greet you, but instead, it is quite empty.
Once a player reaches the center of the galaxy, the game zooms out, at first slowly, then gain speed until it is rapidly revealing more and more of the star systems that the player either traveled to or passed by, until it reaches the screen at which the game begins.
A Reddit thread has been started that has gained massive momentum, and the players are generally disappointed, and some are even downright furious.
Redditor MrFOrzum said:
Don’t waste your hours going there, when it’s NOTHING there. It just says “center and ???????” then zooms out, music plays, and you start over, which of course adds NOTHING new to the game. Oh and no, planets etc “close” to the center aren’t any different than the ones you start by.
There’s no point in doing it, it doesn’t give you any sense of achievement.
I can see where the disappointment is coming from. Spending hours working on anything just to see it come out empty can be infuriating, but I would like to propose a different side of the argument.
Video games are art, and especially in the past decade, video games have become equally as artistic as movies and visual arts, yet more interactive and personal.
No Man’s Sky is no exception. No Man’s Sky is actually one of the more artistic games out there right now, from its procedurally generated planets and music, to the center of the galaxy.
I have a penchant of looking too far into things and analyzing things too deeply, perhaps from my time in Theatre and Arts school, but I think that the truth of the center of the galaxy is somewhat beautiful. Yes, as a player it is disappointing. It doesn’t unlock anything special and does nothing but start you over (all of your tech is broken, but you still have the blueprints).
However, that idea of searching, traveling through space and time in order to reach a final goal, only to find that the goal is in turn just the beginning of another journey is a representation of life itself. As humans, we live day-to-day with the mindset of “today I will do this” with all of those day-to-day goals in turn progressing us closer to a final goal, but once we attain that goal, we cannot then just idly sit back and do nothing. We must have something to continue to occupy our time. Something to make our life – meaningless as it seems in the grand scheme of the universe – worth something.
When a player reaches the center of the galaxy, they have attained that goal, and they have that experience on their back, and now going forward with the next journey, the player is able to build upon that and set a new goal.
That is the thing about No Man’s Sky. There is no true story. The game has no real ending. It can be exactly what a player wants it to be within the parameters of its own development.
So, that player that has reached the center now is tasked with a new goal. The goal is not spelled out. It is whatever the player wants it to be. Perhaps it is to discover as many planets as possible, catalog all of the life in a star system, and so on.
Looking to No Man’s Sky for a satisfying ending is like looking at life for a satisfying ending. We have all of these smaller goals, liking building a hyperdrive, searching for planets, venturing on moons, and we can achieve all of those things. In life we want to achieve as many of those as we can before we meet our end, and whether or not our end is satisfying is not based off of what we achieve but dying, but instead, all of the little battles we had to fight to push further the progress of our collective existence.
So, look to No Man’s Sky not as a story, but as an abstract painting. Every time you look into it, and the deeper you can see, the more things you will be able to get out of it. Revelations do not always have to be spelled out. They’re more fun when you find them on your own.