Dual Universe wants to deliver on some of those biggest promises that No Man’s Sky wasn’t able to fulfill, and while it has its own struggles, it could give the players who felt disappointed by Hello Games’ crack at the shared universe a game that fulfills some of those promises.
At its core, Dual Universe is a giant MMORPG that takes place in a single instance, meaning everyone who plays the game will be playing in the same world, much like No Man’s Sky, but with Dual Universe, it’s just one solar system with gigantic planets and completely buildable structures and vehicles. There’s an insane amount of options when it comes to building in Dual Universe, and you can implement technology into it too. Doors can be set so that when you step on a plate, they open, or if you want, you could set it to be a proximity sensor. There’s an immense amount of customization here and in this way it really is a sandbox game.
One of the biggest problems the Dual Universe team had to deal with was the idea of players destroying the buildings of other players whether it be to build their own structures or just to be jerks. To stop this, each world is divided into a bunch of octagons that can be purchased. In your territory, you can create your own set of rules for what can be destroyed and other aspects. It’s a neat system that sounds like it would be complicated, but is really just like buying plots of land in real life. You can do whatever you want on your land and nobody’s allowed to mess with your stuff. Only in Dual Universe they are literally, physically unable to mess with your stuff.
Speaking of purchasing, the developers talked a lot about how they’re not really making their own currency system. The community will decide what has value, and those materials and minerals will be traded for other supplies you might need. It’s a crazy idea, but if it works it seems like it will be a cool, natural thing that just kind of unfolded in an online community.
The visuals in Dual Universe leave a lot to be desired, but for the size of the worlds and the amount of things you’re able to do, it isn’t that big of a deal. In this regard, though, No Man’s Sky may have a leg up, with its colorful and beautiful galaxy full of crazy colorful animals. The gameplay itself is smooth, although we were playing in god mode, so things were running a bit slow as the game tried to catch up to us. Otherwise, though, it felt good and the building felt natural.
What Dual Universe seems to do right is take a step back, and instead of trying to make an entire universe, just hone in on one solar system, allowing for more care to be put into making that smaller, tighter experience better. It’s exciting to think about what this game might look like after a ton of people have started playing. Full of players trading and building and fighting — it could be like a whole civilization unto itself.
The game is in alpha right now, and doesn’t have a release date as of yet, but will be coming to PC. You can sign up for the alpha right here.