August 8, 2016 8:00 AM EDT

Read TIME’s piece on the creation of No Man’s Sky.

The promise of No Man’s Sky isn’t so much that it looks amazingly outlandish, like a reified Roger Dean painting, but the moment in its initial reveal trailer back in 2013 where on an otherworldly planet, someone swims out of a gleaming azure ocean, strides across a beach bounded by crimson and gold grass and climbs into an X-Wing-like spaceship (without the wings). The canopy pops down, the music kicks up, and the ship rockets into the sky…and then flies out of that sky and into a starlit orbital expanse, filled with moons and asteroids and hulking capital ships, all of that rendered as one balletic, seamless sequence: a beautifully choreographed wish-fulfillment tease.

You can see some of that promise in the game’s heady concept art, almost indistinguishable from screenshots of the game in action. We’ve assembled some of that art here, including a few rarely seen images exclusive to the art book that ships with the limited edition (for PC and PlayStation 4) on August 9.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Matt Peckham at

You May Also Like