Who Or What Is the Traveler?
Now that people have had a moment to temper their rage about No Man Sky’s gameplay it’s time to start interpreting the lore elements. Sure we could go into the nature of the enigmatic Atlas, or perhaps what the ending might really mean, but there is a far more pressing concern to deal with first. What even are we?
No Man’s Sky is billed as a first-person, open world survival game. Players begin the game by crash landing on a random planet at the galaxy’s edge. At their disposal, they have a multi-tool capable of scanning and collecting resources as well as offering a means of defense. Aside from this the only only equipment is your trusty jetpack and an advanced exosuit which can be upgraded throughout the game.
We are never told how the traveler came to be on that particular planet or what their mission might have been prior to this point. There is no character creation, no choosing a race, species, backstory, or gender. The traveler simply exists, seemingly for the express purpose of No Man’s Sky’s tenets of: exploration, survival, combat, and trading. While this is likely as much thought as Hello Games put into the character, here at Connecting The Pixels we like to take things a little bit further. So let’s take a look and see what sort of tantalizing story we can attribute to our world weary protagonist.
Remember, all or none of the following ideas and theories may hold some truth or be complete lunacy. Please hypothesize safely.
Last Hope For Your Species
The traveler is very much alone in the galaxy. Sure you happen upon the occasional alien NPC, but without a shared language your interactions with them are limited. The Aliens are always making surprised gestures when encountering the traveler. It’s almost as if they never expected to meet a member of your species.
This is because for all intents and purposes, they believed the species extinct. The traveler doesn’t have a clearly defined mission because there isn’t anything left for them to do except wander the galaxy alone. They have all the time in the world to take on the Atlas mission or just meander about on random planets indefinitely. The only real evidence for this theory is the ambiguous nature of No Man’s Sky’s gameplay. Even so, it isn’t easy to dismiss.
The traveler never attempts to build a home for themselves on any of the planets. Instead moving ever onward towards a nonexistent goal. Really, if you’re the last of your kind what else is there for you?
Admittedly this is a depressing take on the traveler’s journey. If you prefer a more hopeful approach you can theorize that the traveler is actually the first of it’s species to explore beyond its home galaxy. Scientists finally discovered a way to move beyond what was known, but before they send out a Mars colonization team they need to get an idea of what is really out there. This is why the traveler spends so much time just checking out planets and looking for resources. They are gathering intel for the folks back home. There is no point in trying to build a base. Their one-way mission is that of discovery and ultimately sacrifice.