No Man's Sky - perhaps the most anticipated game of 2016 - isn't out until next week. But one player with a copy of the game has claimed to have reached the centre of the galaxy already.
THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD.
According to the official website, No Man's Sky is a game about "exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated galaxy". But chief developer Sean Murray has indicated that reaching the centre of the galaxy is No Man's Sky's de facto objective.
Reddit user daymeeuhn, who last week spent a whopping $1250 for a copy of the PlayStation 4 version of the game from eBay, said he has now reached the centre of No Man's Sky's galaxy after playing the game since Friday.
Daymeeuhn claims to have taken his time getting to the centre of No Man's Sky's galaxy, too. From a post on Reddit:
"Contrary to what a lot of people think, I have done A LOT of what the game has to offer. I actually intentionally took time out of my warp jumping over the course of going to the middle to explore planets to break up the monotony of it. This does not mean I have done all of the major events, however - I am still yet to swim to the bottom of a big ocean. I am still yet to destroy a space station. I definitely still have stuff to do."
Users on the No Man's Sky subReddit have expressed their concern at the length of time it took Daymeeuhn - pegged at around 30 hours - to reach the centre of No Man's Sky's galaxy. In interviews, Murray has indicated it would take much longer to reach the centre.
Here's a quote from Murray in an interview with GameSpot published in March 2016, in which he said it would take "hundreds of hours" to reach the centre:
"... actually, as you upgrade your ship and upgrade your suit and your weapons and stuff, you can travel much further, much easier, and you can take shortcuts as well. Suddenly that galactic map seems less daunting, but it's still a really significant challenge. It's hundreds of hours of gameplay if a player did nothing else."
Here's another quote on the subject, from an earlier interview, this time with Game Informer, published in December 2014. Here, Murray indicates it would take between 40 and 100 hours to reach the centre.
"If you know what you're doing and all of that kind of thing, some speed runner will prove me wrong, but [it's] like 40 to 100 hours. A good length of time. But that is doing absolutely nothing else but traveling forward and that is min-maxing it, knowing exactly what you're doing. I hope that's not what the majority of players do. I hope they get really distracted and end up actually on the outer edge of the galaxy in a trade route that they really enjoy and not doing anything else.
"For some players they end up trying to see how long it would take them to walk around a planet or become the galaxy's botanist or whatever. But for some players they will only want to make that journey, and that's cool."
The disconnect here between expectations set by Murray's quotes and Daymeeuhn's experience with the game has fuelled concern about No Man's Sky. So, how did Daymeeuhn reach the centre of the galaxy so fast, relatively speaking?
He found and used an in-game item called an Atlas Stone, which sells for a huge number of credits on the galactic market. These credits were then spent on upgrades which fuelled faster-than-expected exploration.
Here's how it works: every time you go to a certain place in the galaxy, which Daymeeuhn claims is easy to find, you get one of these Atlas Stones. They sell for 10 times more than anything else in the game, according to Daymeeuhn's experience. At the same location are two free Warp Fuels, which let you travel to the next system and find the next area with an Atlas Stone. So, simply rinse repeat this process for incredibly fast exploration and a huge amount of in-game credits.
Daymeeuhn has called on developer Hello Games to nerf the value of the Atlas Stones in order to rebalance potential progression.
Whatever the case, the ongoing debate about how long it takes to reach the centre of No Man's Sky's galaxy raises the question of how the game can - or perhaps should - be played.
No Man's Sky is designed as an open-ended experience. The player decides whether to explore or set a direct course for the centre. The ides is how you play is up to you.
But it was perhaps inevitable that players would rush to the centre, in part to see what secret lies there, and in part to be among the first to claim to have "completed" one of the biggest games of the year.
What remains to be seen is just how "completed" No Man's Sky is after getting to the centre of the galaxy. Perhaps there's plenty more to see and do from there.