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See the Artwork That Inspired No Man’s Sky’s Otherworldly Visuals

1 minute read

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.

If players lived for over 80 years and played from birth to death, they'd see less than a million of the game's 18 quintillion planetsHello Games
Everything you see in No Man's Sky is generated by roughly 600,000 lines of code--a pittance compared to other open-world gamesHello Games
No Man Sky's playgrounds pulse with unearthly lifeforms and stunningly alien vistasHello Games
EXCLUSIVE ART: No Man's Sky's visuals evoke 20th century pulp sci-fi's heady vibe and dare-to-explore optimismHello Games
Even if we cure aging, the sun would burn out (in 4.6 billion years) before you'd see all of No Man's Sky's universeHello Games

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Write to Matt Peckham at matt.peckham@time.com