LONDON (Reuters) - A new computer game created by a team of 15 people in a shed in southern England made its highly anticipated debut this week after creating buzz for conjuring a mind-bogglingly large universe of 18 quintillion planets for players to explore.
Hot on the heels of smartphone game "Pokemon Go"'s runaway success, "No Man's Sky" has captured the imagination of gaming fans for creating a video game universe so expansive that no player could possibly discover its reaches in a lifetime.
Video games website GamesRadar called it "perhaps one of the most anticipated games ever made" while Britain's Independent newspaper said: "It's that huge world and stunning concept that has made the game so famous, and led to perhaps the most hype ever generated for a game and appearances on American TV shows."
The Guardian newspaper said: "Judging by its opening hours at least, it is a big, bold and bewildering experience".
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"No Man's Sky", which was built for the PC or Playstation 4 by videogame maker Hello Games, was released in North America on Tuesday and in Britain on Wednesday.
Founder Sean Murray, who even made it to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to discuss the game, told Reuters its appeal was in its sheer scale that allowed each player to have a unique journey through an infinite galaxy.
"If a planet was discovered every second in the game by players then it would take 584 billion years to discover them all," he said in an interview. "Everyone is on their own unique planet and from there, they start their own unique journey ... (18 quintillion planets) is a huge number."
In the game, players have spaceships and can be explorers, traders or fighters and try to survive on sometimes hostile planets. Within 24 hours of going live, players had discovered some 10 million species in the game, more than exist on earth, Murray said.
Unlike other big budget video games developed by large teams of designers and artists, Murray said "No Man's Sky" was born in humble beginnings in a shed in the English town of Guilford.
"What we actually set out to do was to make something really different, unique and offer a very different experience to what you normally see in video games," he said.
(Reporting By Julian Satterthwaite, writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian)