No Man’s Sky was easily one of the most anticipated games in the last few few years, with an unbelievable amount of hype and and insanely large fanbase being built around the promise of the game and what it could deliver. Following the game’s release on Aug. 9, those same people that had hyped the game up had begun to criticize the development team at Hello Games for not delivering the game-changing experience they were hoping for.
The backlash against the game has been ongoing since its release, but it also inspired one player to write out a detailed description of what a Black Mirror episode based on the game and its drama could look like. Black Mirror is a series that’s inspired by the negative aspects of technology and its relation to how society uses it.
In this Reddit fan’s episode, a “resurgence in fundamentalism and religious fanaticism” led to a group of high-priests tormenting citizens with the archaic idea that if they don’t live a completely sin-free life, they’ll be forced to live out their eternal afterlives in a hellish landscape. In retaliation, a game company called Welcome Games and its genius founder, Jean Moiree, create a game where users can upload themselves into a space exploration simulator called New Man’s Life and live there.
It’s a game that Moiree and his team have worked on for more than three years, and despite it not being finished, they’re forced to release it after fan frenzy reaches an all time high. Once players are in the game, they realize that it’s not at all what they were expecting, but are forced to live the rest of their lives in this galaxy.
The ending, which can be read here, is pretty macabre — again, in line with many of Black Mirror’s episodes — and it results in Jean Moiree and his team being jailed for their crimes. It’s a negative portrayal of the game and the trouble surrounding it, but according to the writer, it was just an exaggeration of what happened.
Exaggeration is a key theme to many of Black Mirror’s episodes, and some of the elements in the No Man’s Sky episode can be found in “San Junipero” and “Playtest,” just to name a few. In “San Junipero,” people can upload their minds to a cloud service service that allows them to continue living a digital life after they die. In “Playtest,” creator Charlie Brooker and his team investigate what the future of video games could look like, examining the potentially consequential uses of virtual reality. One of the aspects that makes this spec-script outline work as well as it does is that it understands the message Black Mirror is trying to get across about how boredom and escapism are negative driving forces behind why people use technology.
Despite the criticism surrounding the game, No Man’s Sky is still a financial hit. Steamspy has estimated that approximately 837,000 players have purchased the game on Steam since its release and it was also the best-selling game on the PlayStation Store in August.
No Man’s Sky is currently available to play on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.