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Here’s how the art of No Man’s Sky evolved over time

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Getting closer to a sci-fi novel’s cover

No Man's Sky plants and Sentinels Hello Games

No Man's Sky creator Sean Murray wrote the game’s first lines of code about five years ago, and although "lots of little details have changed" since then, he said in a blog post today that Hello Games has delivered on its initial goal: for players to "wander around an alien planet, and to feel you had discovered it."

One of the game’s most notable transformations is a visual one. Murray provided screenshots of No Man’s Sky at two early stages to illustrate how the game’s art style changed from then to now.

Here’s what No Man’s Sky looked like when it was a few weeks old:

the first screenshot of No Man's Sky

And here’s the game at the six-month mark:

No Man's Sky (at six months) spaceship
No Man's Sky (at six months) lush planet
No Man's Sky (at six months) wintry planet base

No Man’s Sky "looks and plays just as we aimed [it] to," said Murray. But since there’s been an incredible level of hype surrounding the game, he also tried to manage expectations somewhat by explaining what it is and what it isn’t.

No Man’s Sky, said Murray, is designed to let players explore a universe full of procedurally generated worlds, each with its own lifeforms; to give them opportunities to trade with other characters; to let them partake in land and air battles with robots/mechs and other species; and to challenge them to craft items to help themselves survive the harsh worlds of the universe.

Murray listed all the No Man’s Sky footage that Hello Games has officially released, and noted, "That means this maybe isn’t the game you imagined from those trailers." For example, you can’t kill other players, build cities or civilizations, or pilot freighters — at least at launch. Some of those features, such as base building and freighters, are planned for future updates to No Man’s Sky.

The hope, Murray added, is that "for one small moment, you might feel like you’ve stepped into a sci-fi book cover." You might say that’s what the game looks like today — check out the screenshot at the top of this article.

No Man’s Sky launches tomorrow on PlayStation 4 and this Friday, Aug. 12, on Windows PC. For more, check out our preview from April, and our thoughts on how long the game might be. If you want to see the game in action, Hello Games is livestreaming No Man’s Sky for an hour today on Twitch.