There I am, admiring a particularly luminescent blue tuber in my hydroponic garden, when an alarm begins to blare. Pirates, raiding from the skies! A minor inconvenience, sure, but one worth dealing with swiftly, so I hop on Blort – my trusty translucent pet sphere – and roll purposefully, if not exactly speedily, toward the throbbing heft of my organic ship, the whir of a friendly robot drone jabbering somewhere behind me.
And then it’s up, up, up, we go, past my newly renovated capital ship and its armada of frigates (the latest addition, a pulsating tentacled mass, wiggles encouragingly), past a space station recently commandeered by pirates, and then, with a little more room to manoeuvre, it’s time to do my worst. Within seconds the pirate threat is no more and peace, for now at least, is restored. Before I go home, though, I summon the imposing hulk of the inter-dimensional Space Anomaly and head in for a friendly rendezvous. Cake has been promised.
No Man’s sky has, it’s fair to say, come a long, long way since its undoubtedly controversial launch in 2016. What was once a game of low-key, curiosity-driven exploration across a beautiful, often haunting, procedurally generated universe has morphed into something far bigger, far bolder, and, I think, after countless revisions and refinements, quite brilliant indeed.