No Man’s Sky in Legal Hot Water… Again

No Man’s Sky is set to release on the 8th of August, and it’s fair to say the developers at Hello Games have faced a bit of controversy in the leadup to the game’s launch. Well, we’re back at it again, this time it involves a Dutch scientist’s patent on the ‘Superformula’.


If you didn’t already know, the universe of No Man’s Sky is big, very big. So big in fact, that it relies on a mathematical algorithm to generate its planets called: the ‘Superformula’, which was developed by botanist Johan Gielis.

The game’s director, Sean Murray, hasn’t shied away from this fact, explaining their use of the Superformula in an interview with The New Yorker last year. However, it wasn’t clear until now that Gielis had patented the formula.

While the Gielis’ research company, Genicap, hasn’t stated they are blocking the release of No Man’s Sky, or even suing the developers, they did release a statement to Eurogamer which is below:

Genicap is working on a project to create revolutionary software based on the superformula that can be used likewise by indies and the major game studios.

Using the superformula to generate natural objects enables you to create endless varied and original objects such as trees, rocks, beaches, planets and mountains. Currently most of this work is still done manually. We are still in the conceptual phase. We expect to be able to tell you more in autumn.

It would be great to exchange knowhow 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.