Space is lonely, even the name implies distance and solitude. On Earth, we are often just a few feet or yards from other people, but just a quick jump to the closest solar system (Alpha Centauri) would take four years traveling at the speed of light. Even Mars, the closest planet to Earth, is six months away by contemporary space travel. You can fly to China in twelve hours, drive from New York to LA in two or three days, but in space, time is stretched out and distance becomes truly unfathomable. So for a game like No Man’s Sky, which to some degree prides itself on its realistic scale of size to the universe, it should come as no surprise just how lonely playing the game can be. As the title of the game implies, there is no one around, and the gameplay echoes this concept like a blunt object over the head.
To call intelligent life scarce in No Man’s Sky would be an understatement. The player traverses vast uncategorized planets filled with plants, animals, and fish, but often little to nothing that can talk to the player. There are occasional intelligent aliens that the player runs into, but these encounters are brief and due to the game’s science fiction leanings, are spoken in a language that the player often doesn’t understand. There is a debate as to whether or not No Man’s Sky has “true” multiplayer, in which two players can be on the same planet simultaneously and hang out, but even if it does, the chances of running into another player are about the same as running into another human if there were only a dozen on earth.