No Man's Sky developer Hello Games has been very cagey about what players will actually be doing in the open-galaxy space exploration game, but a recent look at it from the PlayStation Blog offers details on how players will interact with other creatures that populate the universe.
"We've always talked about having factions in the game," said No Man's Sky creator Sean Murray in an interview with the PlayStation Blog. "It's something we've always wanted. We had ideas on how we wanted that to fit in No Man's Sky, but it's taken us a while to get to the point where we're happy enough to show it."
The factions in question are actually various alien races, and you'll run into them as you explore the galaxy of No Man's Sky. The races have different strengths — one might be more militaristic, while others may be focused on, say, science or trading — and it's up to you to figure out how to interact with those distinct peoples of the universe. For example, if you want to play No Man's Sky as a one-man army waging war on planets, it might behoove you to befriend the belligerent aliens.
Doing so will take some work, however, because each race speaks in a different language — and Murray estimated that you'll have to play No Man's Sky for "hours and hours" just to learn a single one.
"I think most players will never become fluent, unless it's specifically something they’re seeking out," Murray said. That won't be necessary, anyway — the point of speaking with others in No Man's Sky is to accomplish tasks like "trading, or asking for technology, or sharing crafting recipes."
Interactions with non-player characters will have procedurally generated elements; Hello Games hasn't come up with lengthy dialogue trees or interplanetary story arcs, because No Man's Sky isn't that kind of game. And learning a language won't involve picking up on complex grammar and syntax. Instead, it'll be more about understanding vocabulary, where one word in an alien tongue simply replaces an English word.
"We're not trying to build something that people will go out and try to speak in the real world," Murray explained. "It's more about creating a really interesting reason for people to explore the game and get some really emergent results." He did note that one of the game's languages is more difficult to learn than all the others, and said "it will probably only be possible for people to decipher some of the dialogue by working together online."
No Man's Sky launches June 21 on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC for $59.99.