I started painting these watercolor pieces about these space explorers on trippy planets. You can view some of them over here. The idea came from a combination of a few different things. This game came out called No Man’s Sky, and was reviewed with a resounding sigh of disappointment.
The premise was cool. You play as a lone space explorer, making your way through a procedurally generated galaxy in your spaceship. Every planet was infinitely different, with different trees, animals and environment. And the style of the game used all these hyper-matte colors, like neon pink and chartreuse. But after you put in about ten hours, the game can no longer stand on being kind of pretty. It became a game of going to a planet, walking around the surface long enough to find fuel for your spaceship, then moving on to the next planet, finding fuel, and repeating the process.
I found that people’s reactions to the game were more entertaining than the game itself. The subreddit was a hub for people’s growing resentment of the game. The posts changed from “What a beautiful game, too bad there’s no sand worms” to “I can’t believe I wasted my money on this garbage.” The contempt for the game went so far as to warrant filing a lawsuit in the UK for false advertising. Meanwhile, the company developing the game went silent. They literally went without any form of update for over 90 days while the internet crapped all over them.
That feeling of deep disappointment in the face of some beautiful (albeit flawed) creation was one of the things that made me want to create this series. The idea of being so oversaturated with something awe-inspiring that you just don’t care. An explorer that’s been force-fed sensory overloads until everything is just mundane.
For everyone, there was this feeling of something lacking from No Man’s Sky. I think the game would have done fine at a $20 price point, and some promises of future content. But there is also this unintentionally deep meaning in creating this giant, random and beautiful world only for people to go “meh.”