With less than three weeks away from the release of Hello Games’ highly anticipated No Man’s Sky, a new controversy has emerged that may spoil the release date of a game that’s already been plagued with too many delays.
According to Eurogamer, a Dutch newspaper, the Telegraaf, published news that research company Genicap, is claiming ownership to “the Superformula”, which they say is a mathematical equation that developers of No Man’s Sky stole and used to create the seemingly endless amount of generated planets.
The mathematical formula was developed by botanist Johan Gielis and his research company, Genicap, back in 2003. It’s intended to describe the mathematical makeup of complex shapes and structures found in nature. The Superformula is essentially a botanist’s heaven.
However, there is good news, and fans desperately awaiting the release of No Man’s Sky can breathe a sigh of relief. Jeroen Sparrow of Genicap insists that they do not intend to stop the game’s launch but they do intend to be able to be involved with Hello Games and the development of video games:
It would be great to exchange know how with Hello Games. We believe No Man’s Sky is the beginning of a new generation of games. What Hello games did with the formula is very impressive. Johan Gielis, the founder of Genicap and the one who discovered the superformula, is extremely proud.
If Hello Games used our technology, at some stage we will have to get to the table. We have reached out to them but understand they have been busy. We trust that we will be able to discuss this in a normal way.
This rather puzzling remark hints at what their ultimate plans hold: using the Superformula to incorporate into video games. Back in May of 2015, Hello Games chief Sean Murry mentioned the formula to a reporter from The New Yorker when being interviewed. The article, which was published by Raffi Khatchadourian, states that Murray repeatedly referenced the Superformula. Raffi writes that Sean
envisioned using the Superformula throughout the game, especially at the center of the galaxy, where landscapes would become more surreal. With only small shifts in its parameters, the equation was producing impressive variability.
The patent which Genicap claims Hello Games breached was patented back in June 2004. According to Eurogamer, which looked into the matter, said they believe the patent appears to be legit. So the dispute comes down to whether Hello Games has to license the Superformula. While some claim they do and other claim that they don’t, it seem like the gaming Gods will allow No Man’s Sky to finally be released. As of today, it’s still set to be out on August 9th as a PS4 exclusive.