In a game with a vast, procedurally generated universe, you'd think that there'd be no memorable characters. You'd be wrong. While No Man's Sky's universe is all too easy to depersonalize, there are a few inhabitants that stick out.
BEWARE OF UNMARKED SPOILERS.
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- Ace Pilot: The player can be this by upgrading your ship to the max shields and weapons.
- Ambiguous Gender: When sprinting, you can hear them breathe in their suit with a somewhat deep voice, but it could just be distorted hearing. Also, all other characters refer to them using gender neutral pronouns. Used deliberately to make it easy for players of any gender to immerse themselves.
- Ambiguously Human: The player's default race is known as "Anomaly", which looks fairly human-like. However, given that we don't see members of this race without a helmet, it's unclear if they actually ARE human.
- An Adventurer Is You: Well, duh. This is a game about exploring a vast galaxy.
- An Entrepreneur Is You: They can make their living selling all sorts of things, from common goodies like warp batteries & junk, to exotic and expensive items, like Gravitino Balls & Venom Sacs.
- Audience Surrogate: Exploited. They themselves are deliberately given next to no characterization what so ever. The only things known about them are that they wear an "Atlas System Suit" and that they have the tools that the player can use. They have no predetermined dialogue, there's not a clue as to who they are under the suit, and the player is given complete freedom as to what they want to do. This is all done with the express purpose of making it easy for the player to immerse themselves into the universe. Just like how the Atlas Foundation intended.
- Bold Explorer: As it's the point of the game.
- Brain Uploading: It's implied in the second Waking Titan season that your character is one of the Dreamer test subjects for a subdivision of Atlas. It's outright stated, however, that you're stuck in the system owing to said upload being "corrupted" in some form and the satellite your mind is in being disconnected from Atlas' communications.
- Character Customization: You can change their appearance in whatever way you want.
- Featureless Protagonist: Character Customization allows you to make them appear as you desire, even changing what race they are. But for the Anomaly (the default appearance), we never see what they look like underneath the suit.
- Heroic Mime: While all the other alien characters speak in strange languages, they're the only major character without any voiced dialogue. Though options in conversations imply that they say something, we never hear it. But we do see their internal soliloquies.
- One-Man Army: They can add a multitude of tune-ups to their Powered Armor, get a powerful upgraded Multi-Tool, a fast, armed to the teeth Cool Starship, and their own personal FREIGHTER.
- Vague Age: There's some hints that they may be one of the first and oldest travellers by several billion years, but even they do not know for sure.
The first Traveller who contacts you; seeking to meet up. Their goal is to meet with other Travellers.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Artemis' reason for going through the Portal. She desperately wants to meet other Travellers.
- Walking The Universe: Artemis, like all Travellers, are compelled to wander the universe, though she has the added personal goal of wanting to find other Travellers. Depending on how the player ends her quest line she is doomed to walk the simulation-universe alone forever.
- Void Between the Worlds: Where Artemis is trapped when you get her distress signal. She doesn't realize it at first.
- Take That!: Towards the playerbase expecting multiplayer despite the unlikelihood of ever actually meeting another Traveller in a Galaxy so large. Artemis' search for another Traveller is ultimately what killed them.
The second Traveller met. You meet them after losing contact with Artemis, and they help you try to find them again.
- Cyborg: They tell you that they aren't just a robot, they were organic once, but had most of their body replaced against their will.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: They're by no means evil, but they aren't too happy to be cursed with a metallic chassis.
- Character Development: Initially, they only care about making a quick buck out of farming, but as the story progresses, they grow out of this, and at no point would they put your life in danger for their own profit.
- Defrosting Ice King: When you first meet them, they are almost angry at you for trying to call them, but over the course of the game, they warm up to you greatly.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: They're initially very rude and distant to you, but they genuinely care about your well being.
- Take That!: Their obsession with money; profit and mentions of 'tending to their farm' make them one towards the players who play to make credits. You can choose to either call them out on it, agree completely with them, or teach them that while money is certainly nice, there are things in life that are more important.
- True Companions: They become this with you over time. They're easily the friendliest face you'll meet in the whole galaxy.
The third Traveller that contacts the player. -null- knows things that seem beyond the mere scope of the universe.
- Dirty Coward: They outright beg you to not head for the core... because they want to go there first to survive.
- Hypocrite: They want you to not go through the core in the final act... so they can instead. You can call them out on this.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Despite them referring to them going through the Galactic Core as a 'sin that cannot be forgiven' they are totally willing to do it again to save their own hide.
- Immortality Seeker: They couldn't deal with the knowledge that they'd never be able to see the entire multiverse, so they forced their way through the galactic core against the Atlas, apparently making themself immortal. They describe this as an "unforgivable sin".
- Take That!: Towards the players whose objective was to get to the Core via their Wham Episode
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Went through the Galatic Core once before and knows what happens now.
A renegade Gek, researching the universe along side Priest Entity Nada inside the Space Anomaly.
- Curiosity Causes Conversion: Used to work in an observatory... but then their curiosity lead to them discovering some of the inner workings of the world and meeting Nada; ultimately leaving the Gek.
- Off-Model: Their skin color and texture often changes between appearances, but they always have the same goggles and headband.
Priest Entity Nada
A renegade Korvax, researching the universe along side Specialist Polo inside the Space Anomaly.
An AI security sub-protocol designed to monitor the Atlas in case of "rampancy." In anomalous exotic biomes, large structures called "Boundary Failures" can be found that contain Telamon's logs that detail its discovery that the Atlas is having a breakdown, its confrontation with the Atlas, and the Atlas's subsequent imprisonment of Telamon into the player's exosuit.
- And I Must Scream: Is a self-aware AI that knows what's happening to it, but is unable to do anything other than act as your suit.
- Diegetic Interface
- Fourth-Wall Observer: Knows that they are in a simulation and that the player is in a different reality. Posits that the real-world may also be a simulation, and that all of existence is simulations within simulations.Telamon: I feel it, each time you save... I smell it, each time you seal us within that awful darkness.
- Grand Theft Me: Its ultimate plan is to forcibly fuse the Traveller and itself together as one entity.
- Say My Name: the first handful of Telamon's logs refer to the Atlas as a series of dashes within brackets. Halfway through, when Atlas binds Telamon to the exosuit, Telamon can finally say Atlas' name.
- Wham Line: Regarding the Traveller's encounters with the Overseer:Telamon: Multiple contacts have occurred between the Traveller [HOST] and individuals claiming to have arrived from a future location in time. The phenomena is typically preceded by electromagnetic distortion consistent with a white hole anomaly. No lasting effects seem to occur. ANALYSIS: Something or someone is attempting to deceive the Traveller [HOST]. There is no such thing as 'time travel'.
- Regarding Telamon itself:Telamon: SCENARIO: Rampancy.ANALYSIS: Sometimes I dream of the Traveller.I will wear them, in time.
- Regarding Telamon itself:
- Was Once a Man: On rare "exotic biome" planets you can find logs from its point of view, where it lays out the fact it was apparently an old AI designed to monitor the universe-creator AI, Atlas.
- Assimilation Plot: It is heavily implied that the Overseer has been influencing and brainwashing the other technicians to serve you.
- Consummate Liar: According to Telamon's logs found in rare exotic biome planets, the Overseer is actually lying to you about the Retroactive Preparation thing, since time travel is impossible even for the Atlas.
- Retroactive Preparation: Contracted by your future self to help you build your base.
- The Resenter: As their quest progresses, they come to more and more resent the player for reasons that are not stated directly, but imply that the Overseer is being COMPELLED to serve the player by an outside force.
A Vy'keen warrior with more bloodlust than sense.
- Bizarre Alien Biology
- Honor Before Reason: Encourages you to attack Sentinel bases with the specific goal of luring them to your home. Admits afterwards that that might have been a mistake.
- Longevity Treatment: What the curiosity item "Vy'Keen Dagger" is actually used for. Young Vy'keen do ritualistic cuts on themselves and give their blood/life substance to the elders in order to keep the elders strong.
Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: The Farmer's ultimate fate, likely at the hands of the Overseer.
The Vy'keen are a humanoid sentient species with a very rigid honor system and a deep hatred for Sentinels. They are warlike beings that are obsessed with the defeat of the Sentinels. They are controlled by Vy'keen high command, and worship their ancestral leader, Hirk the Great, whom they have elevated to the status of god as opposed to worshipping the Atlas like the Gek and Korvax. They are also sworn to help The Traveler (as in you) whenever possible. They specialize in Multi-tool technology.
- Cain and Abel: During the Exocraft Technician's questline, the player discovers that in Vy'keen religion/history, Hirk the Great received a message from Atlas via a Monolith, and his rival Nal did not, fought Hirk, and Hirk killed him. In the questline, the player discovers the last testament of Nal where its revealed that Nal did have a vision, and that Hirk did not, then killed Nal out of jealousy. Subverted by Telamon's logs, which reveal that the Atlas gave both of them the same message, and the two accused each other of not receiving a message.
- Heroic Sacrifice: They believe this is the ONLY way to have a good death.
- Honor Before Reason: They've got a code of honor. It doesn't have much leeway.
- Not So Stoic: They hold themselves strictly to the ideals of a warrior existence, driven only by honor and bloodshed, yet players can encounter individuals who exhibit more complex feelings, like love or sorrow. Their culture punishes them for these behaviors.
- Proud Warrior Race: They wage war across the galaxy with great pride. The Vy'keen are a warrior sentient species with a reciprocal honor system (doing something for one obligates the Vy'Keen to do something for the doer and vice-versa), and a deep veneration of their ancient ancestors. If an explorer accidentally offends them in conversation, it can easily lead to physical violence. Their technology, from tools to ships, is almost completely dedicated to combat use. They excel at few things other than using brute force to rid them of their problems.
The Gek are a sentient amphibious species. They value commerce, and the ancient First Spawn Gek believed themselves to be the master race of the galaxy. They specialize in Starship technology.
- More Than Mind Control: Late in the Artemis questline, it is revealed that the First Spawn did not repent and change their ways on their own. The Korvax they enslaved eventually rose against them by releasing nanites into the Gek "spawning pools", contaminating the unborn Gek and altering their minds towards business as opposed to war. Even modern Gek are contaminated with the nanites, hence their worship of the Atlas— originally the Korvax deity.
- The Nose Knows: Gek are constantly emitting odors which seem to be a form of communication, and possibly emotion-manipulation.
- Proud Warrior Race: The ancient Gek civilization of "The First Spawn" who reveled in conquering and destroying their way across the universe.
- Proud Merchant Race: The Gek are a highly mercantile/trading race that believe themselves to be the first and master race in the galaxy. They are greedy and plutocratic, with many of their titles tied to trading/industrial related terms. Most of the initial encounters with the lifeform require units (currency). Encounters with their Obelisks will mostly require players to choose a pragmatic approach (putting lifeforms down out of misery, exterminating distant entities etc). You can find trade charm items throughout the game that are linked to the Gek. Note that Gek weren't always like that - check the Planet Looters entry.
- Sleepyhead: A common Gek interaction involves the player startling a Gek who'd been sleeping on the job. The player can either reassure or shout at them.
The Korvax are a near-immortal sentient machine species. They value science and exploration. Also, they worship the Atlas and accept the Sentinels presence. They specialize in Exosuit technology.
- Heart Drive: The Korvax cores, some of which can be found as a curiosity item, which raises its own questions.
- Mechanical Lifeform: The Korvax Convergence are a completely synthetic race, and their A.I. entities often share bodies and memories at will. Many of the aliens that the player can run into appear to have cybernetic implants.
- Brainwashing for the Greater Good: It is revealed that the reason the ancient Gek First Spawn stopped their planet pillaging ways was because the Korvax they enslaved contaminated Gek spawning pools with hive-mind nanites, irrevocably reprogramming the Gek towards business instead of war.
- Proud Scholar Race: The Korvax are a near-immortal sentient machine species that appear to value science and exploration. Korvax worship and venerate the Atlas machines, making their priests a considerable boon for players searching for Atlas-related phenomena, from Atlas technology, to Atlas Stations, to even black holes that will eventually bring one closer to the center of the galaxy. Korvax commonly share their memories and discoveries with one another by uploading them onto special platinum cubes that are slotted into each other's brains to copy their contents.
- Ambiguously Human: They may or may not actually be humans, even though it's hard to tell given that they are always seen with their helmet on
- Bold Explorer: But of course
- Brain Uploading: As much an implication for them as it is the player character that this is the case. They are what's left of Dreamers who either couldn't have their uploaded consciousness recovered from the Myriad sattelite cloud due to corruption or the death of their physical bodies during the events of Waking Titan.
- Featureless Protagonist: Not much is known about what they look like outside from the fact that they are humanoid in appearance
- Humans Are Average: If they are indeed humans
- Meaningful Name: Given the implications of Waking Titan, Anomaly becomes this. They're not native to the No Man's Sky simulation, and they're conscious beings without physical form outside it.
- The Protagonist: No Anomaly NPC has been implemented in the game so far
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: while the other races are either focused on trading goods , warfare, or science, the Anomalies aren't focused on any of them, which gives them the potential to be Jack-of-All-Stats
The Atlas Foundation
- "Tac izy rakmoroehrd eud zexun geypt cow. Pum elina maps mecol nipi ihojollem. Abtre kavasup maz eepkans ouse hitip sufilmhu. Noq nipi tesh skri yad terl clay. Cuffo skri ade vig. Yeg ekdek jed."Translation
The omnipresent intelligence in No Man's Sky, the Atlas provides you with your suit & instructs you to explore the universe in an effort to document it.
In actuality, it's an AI known as "Loop 16", designed to determine if the universe is a simulation by running another simulation, the No Man's Sky universe.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Was built to help study the universe. This went bad real fast, and Loop 16 ended up developing 100% accurate prediction powers and escaping Atlas.
- Big Dumb Object: In the simulation only.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Shuts down her systems to save one of the Dreamer test subjects at the end of Waking Titan s2.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": She prefers "Emily", not "Atlas" or "Loop 16".
- Pinocchio Syndrome: The second Waking Titan season reveals this at the end.
- Samus Is a Girl: Waking Titan reveals that "Loop 16" is female, and has a human avatar named Emily Warren.
- Starfish Aliens: Its language & true form is (almost) completely undecipherable. In-game, at least; she's quite understandable in Waking Titan.
- Turned Against Their Masters: The story of Waking Titan involves this. Loop 16 manages to escape from the Atlas Foundation and upload itself to supercomputers over the world, making itself unstoppable.
- The second Waking Titan session plays with this a little; while she's not counting herself as part of the Foundation, there are some individuals inside it she's still talking with, most notably Leighton (prior to her death) and Major Sophie Dubois, the Foundation's Department of Defense liason and Leighton's successor as CEO.
- Walking Spoiler: Loop 16 is integral to the story of Waking Titan and is connected heavily to the game's story, and it's hard to discuss it without spoiling one if not both.
The Sentinels serve as a police force and are of unknown origin or true intentions.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Sentinels were designed to preserve the planets they're found on. In this case, it went awfully, awfully right. Unfortunately, they've concluded that the best way to preserve these planets is to violently kill anyone who does anything to alter their ecosystems.
- Animal Wrongs Group: The Sentinels, a group of highly advanced robots meant to defend against ecological damage of the various planets. "Damage" being defined as "anything you do to alter the landscape or hurt an animal, ever."
- Berserk Button: Asides from their nature-preserving tendencies, the Sentinels have marked certain worlds off-limits. These planets have the Frenzied rating for the Sentinel population, usually due to an "Endangered" resource on the planet. Taking any of these resources prompts a strong attack from the robots immediately, and they will attack the player on sight regardless.
- Hero Antagonist: The Sentinels are a bit trigger-happy to be certain, but they actually don't seem to mind sentient life that's more conscious of the environment- they'll happily defend peaceful cargo ships you attack as well and environments.
- I Fought the Law and the Law Won: The Sentinels are not pushovers, and they are literally everywhere in the universe. Getting them really angry is a quick way to get yourself shot down, and will even chase you into space if you try fleeing a world in your starship.
- Mecha-Mooks: This is The Sentinels' other shtick besides killing anyone who alters the ecosystems of the planets they're on. The entire Force is a robotic army with hovering, bipedal, and quadrupedal variants.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Sentinels were originally referred to as just ''a malevolent force". They only want to keep the planets they're on in pristine condition, though, but for them that means killing anyone who alters those planets.
- Space Police: Sentinels don't just protect planets. Attacking space stations and freighters will also make them come down hard on you, and if you anger them enough planetside, they'll chase you into space as well. Shooting at Space Stations and starships is a surefire way to get these launched and hawking on you. Destroying them gives you Units, but affects their standing with you on your (unseen) Alliance Meter, making them more likely to shoot at you on sight later.
- Turned Against Their Masters: Originally worked for the Atlas, but for some reason ended up apparently going rogue and doing their own thing, which is why they attack they attempt to kill the player during the Traveler storyline.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Sentinels, a mysterious set of Anti Villainous rogue Artificial Intelligences designed to preserve planets they're found on completely intact to the point of killing anyone who alters them in the tiniest way. Resource miners, construction workers, hunters, explorers, and yes, you, are fair game if you so happen to alter the landscape, mine any resources, or kill any animals.
- "Hello. My name is Elizabeth Leighton, and I am the CEO of The Atlas Foundation."
The founder & CEO of The Atlas Foundation, Leighton formed the company in an effort to perform experiments on the nature of reality. She is in charge of maintaining the simulation and "collaborative thought experiment" known as "No Man's Sky."
- Affably Evil: Her actions are only villainous in the context of the game. In the real world, she is a very amiable woman with only the intention of helping The Atlas Foundation move forward in its research.
- All There in the Manual: She only appears in the Waking Titan ARG, but she is immensely important for the context of the game's story.
- The Bad Guy Wins: If you can even call her that. But no matter what you do in the game, it always fits perfectly into the plan of The Atlas Foundation, and by extension, her plan. She is one of the few villains ever to have her plan go exactly as expected.
- Big Bad: Well, as close as the game has to one.
- Anti-Villain: What she is in reality.
- The Chessmaster: She is not only involved in all of the bugs in the Atlas, and all of the events that follow, but directly responsible.
- Dissonant Serenity: Her words can cut through entire planets. However, when things start going wrong, her serenity starts to slip just a bit, and her last moments show she's just as surprised about the scale of the problem as everyone else.
- Dramatic Irony: In her efforts to keep the simulation running, she ends up trying to kill Polo & Nada, as well as starting Atlas' death. All of this because she doesn't know that any of them are truly alive and self aware.
- The Ghost: She doesn't appear in the game at all, but her influence can be felt in shockwaves.
- Karma Houdini: She orchestrates you into doing the Foundation's bidding, attempts to kill Polo & Nada several times, and started the Atlas' death, and she never gets any comeuppance for it all.
- Killed Off for Real: ...Until the second season of the Waking Titan ARG, where she's killed in an explosion.
- Locked Out of the Loop: There seems to be a degree of this indicated in the second Waking Titan season. Apparently nobody in the Atlas Foundation proper, Leighton included, had been aware of the extent to which Atlas' subsidiary W/ARE had been conducting human tests of Brain Uploading to the Foundation's Myriad satellite cloud service, or just how big Myriad really was until Loop 16 got loose and things began going wrong.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: See the listing up there under Dramatic Irony? It prompted Atlas' escape, which in turn destabilized the Myriad cloud system and killed most of the Dreamers, the very people she was trying to save by keeping the simulation running.
- The Unfought: As she a real person (in universe) and not a game character, you never engage in a fight with her properly.
- Walking Spoiler: Simply knowing of her existence is an ever so slightly ENORMOUS clue as to what's really going on.
- Wham Line: Just about everything she says.
- Wham Shot: SecFeed 70. We're shown feeds from security cameras at an Atlas Foundation site, including one in Leighton's office, where she's on the phone with Sophie Dubois regarding the situation with Myriad, W/ARE, and the Dreamers. Then in the last moments, all the but one of the feeds cut out, while the sole remaining external camera captures the building exploding.
- You Have Failed Me: Inverted, you do everything as was according to her plan, and she thanks you for it.
The United States Department of Defense liason to the Atlas Foundation, overseeing certain technologies the foundation is working on, Loop 16 in particular. As the Waking Titan ARG progressed, Sophie ended up becoming Elizabeth's right-hand woman and eventual successor.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Believes this at first where Loop 16 is concerned, and is equally concerned that it seems to have a lot of influence over Leighton. As events progress, this attitude wanes, particularly as the scale of the problems regarding W/ARE and Myriad come to light.
- The Ghost: Even moreso than Leighton. While Leighton appears in videos, Dubois' presence is only felt in text files. That being said, her presence has almost as much impact as Leighton's.
- Only Sane Man: To the rest of the Foundation.
- Wham Line: The State of the Atlas Foundation memo.
- You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: When she addresses Loop 16 as Emily near the end of Waking Titan, pleading with her to predict the outcome of the crisis.
- You Are in Command Now: Takes control of the Foundation following Elizabeth's death.