Does No Man's Sky have a story?

A Starship approaching the Space Anomaly in No Man's Sky.

A Starship approaching the Space Anomaly in No Man's Sky.
September 13, 2023: With the huge No Man's Sky Echoes update out now, brush up on the story so far.

No Man's Sky sees players travel through space and time as they research interstellar systems and seek out answers for themselves. At the start of the game, players follow a series of instructions from a mysterious traveler that came before them. Like the player's character, the traveler has no idea how they came to be in their current situation and was forced to figure out how to survive for themselves.

However, the game's starting quests don't follow the traditional questline that a normal 'open-world' game does. So, this has left players wondering if there is, in fact, a story to No Man's Sky at all. If you want to find out the answer to this burning question, you can check out our full explanation below.

Are you finding it difficult to locate some rare resources in No Man's Sky? Then check out our guides on finding Cadium and Faecium.

Does No Man's Sky have a story?

Starships' travel across the sky in No Man's Sky.
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The short answer is yes. No Man's Sky does have a story that players can choose to follow or ignore, albeit the story is far from complex. The story does touch upon various philosophical subjects which prove to be very interesting, however, and acts as a great introduction to the systems across No Man's Sky.

However, if we were to go into more detail, your story in No Man's Sky can technically be whatever you want it to be, given how much content there is to consume. You can take the Dungeons and Dragons route and come up with your own quests for your new character to complete. This, of course, is in addition to building a base, discovering all of the planets and systems in the galaxy, and identifying every possible piece of flora and fauna possible.

You could also try to become the wealthiest person in the galaxy, accumulating a great fortune and owning many luxurious ships. The possibilities are endless in No Man's Sky, and your story can be whatever you want to make it. Although, there is a dedicated storyline in No Man's Sky as well that players might want to follow first.

What is the story of No Man’s Sky?

In No Man's Sky, there are two main quest lines for players to follow that take the form of two main, separate but related, storylines in the game. These are 'Artemis Path' and 'Atlas Path'.

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At the beginning of the game, you wake on a random planet alone as a 'Traveler', with no memory of what has happened. You must repair your ship before encountering three alien races – the Gek, the Korvax, and the Vy'Keen – and then, by some unknown force, feel you must make it to the centre of the galaxy.

Read more - No Man's Sky - How to find settlements and become overseer

Along the way, you encounter the Space Anomaly and meet Priest Entity Nada and Specialist Polo, who have extensive knowledge of the galaxy and advise you on how to get closer to your goal. Yet, along the way, you encounter fellow Traveller, Artemis, via communications. They're just like you, a lone Traveller with amnesia, and wish to reconnect with others.

A player faces specialist Polo in the Space Anomaly of No Man's Sky.
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This then leads to you, the player, trying to find Artemis with little luck and then instead being introduced to Apollo. You're advised to figure out what the deal is with the Sentinels and portals, before being boarded upon a large, mysterious vessel and coming into contact with Atlas. This is where things get very interesting, as you are sent to Artemis' grave afterward. This reveals that the lifeform you spent a good few hours communicating with is actually deceased.

Following this, you end up in touch with a new entity that introduces you to the concept of the 'Mind Arc' and how it could save Artemis' life. You then will build the Mind Arc, and be given the decision of what to do with it. Will you upload Artemis' soul or let them remain deceased? Regardless of your decision, you will then be led to another portal and be in touch with Atlas again. You are advised that they're going to die, and other Travellers need to be made aware, but they can't make contact.

At this point, your character, the Traveler, has a grand realisation. They're not like the others, and instead have a higher understanding of things across the galaxy, much like Nada and Polo. It is after this realisation that all is truly revealed: the galaxy is nothing more than a computer simulation created by the Atlas. The fourth race, Travelers, like your character, were created to explore the simulation. Nada and Polo are 'errors' for the fact that they became self-aware of the simulation.

Two players face the Space Anomaly from on a planet in No Man's Sky.
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After more investigations, the Atlas communicates with you once again and reveals that they do not want to die. As you continue with your initial goal, getting to the centre of the universe, you are tasked with gathering more and more information with the help of Nada, Polo, and Atlas Seeds.

Once you reach the centre of the galaxy, you will speak with Atlas again. Then, you must make a decision whether you restart the simulation, save Atlas, or decline the offer. Declining the offer ends the main story line, meanwhile, saving Atlas or restarting the simulation will send you to a new galaxy to restart the game. Progress will be saved, and you can use the Interstellar Terminus to travel back to your previous galaxy if you wish.

That's all there is to No Man's Sky story right now! Whether you seek out the story or not is entirely up to you, and isn't necessary to be able to kick back and enjoy the expanse of time and space that the game has to offer. As you progress with Artemis Path, Atlas Path, or taking over your own planet, don't forget to check out how to take a pet companion along with you, or enjoy the game with a friend.

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