I read a web post by one of the developers of Outlast, and apparently the game was made with around 10 people! So truly it's amazing what small teams can achieve
But mhhm, I almost bought No Man's Sky too for my brother as a gift, but resisted just as my cursor was hovering over the Purchase button. So glad! It seemed so interesting, but the implementation was really lacking. What's up with the popularity of survival games these days anyway? :/ I want to exploooore, not mine resources all day!
I agree though that they did pretty well on the technical front. Using 64-bit seeds for every star was an interesting idea. But it feels that the game failed to convey a true sense of mystery and wonder? Real planets are filled with variety: volcanoes, tornadoes, gas giants, frozen surfaces, underwater mysteries... There's so much variety within our solar system alone! So many different types of terrain and atmospheric climates, many of them extreme. No man's sky felt like the same kind of planet over and over again ^^
Disappointed by NMS, I actually tried Kerbal Space Program
It's a game where you build rockets and send them into space. I didn't think much of it at first, but it surprised me! First of all, it was much more realistic, based on real rocket physics. As an example, you can't just hover around a planet in space: you'd fall. You need to enter an orbit, and it takes tremendous energy to do that. But aside from that, the journey mattered too! Even to get to the Mun was a considerable challenge, and involved learning a lot about space navigation and different rocket components. By the time I got there, it felt like a true achievement! Collecting rock samples was never so rewarding
It was then that I looked at the map of the solar system, and zoomed out... And realised that this was only the start of my journey. There were many other planets to explore, all of them so different from each other. From Eve (extreme gravity and mysterious pink lakes) to Jool (gas planet with no surface), it was all fascinating to explore
Often the missions were one-way, as getting back was extremely difficult, so many of them were uncrewed.
It really felt like noticing a hazardous world in the distance, sending probes to explore it, and then finally finding a way to send a crew to conquer the unknown :') Really what exploration is all about!