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How I got Lemmy into No Man's Sky

If you look hard enough, you'll find traces of Motörhead's fearless leader Lemmy in No Man's Sky.

I’d always assumed that I’d one day see Motörhead live, but clearly it was never to be. When Lemmy passed away it was less like a musician had joined the choir invisible, and more like some force of nature had suddenly, unexpectedly, stopped raging. The timelessness of his music, and metal in general, came with an unwelcome dose of mortality.

I think that’s why I, and many others, was so engaged with the idea of the petition to make ‘Lemmium’ the new chemical name for Heavy Metal 115 in the Periodic Table. This synthetic superheavy metal’s temporary name is Ununpentium, and its likely name come the end of the year will be Moscovium. Both these names are boring and rubbish. ‘Lemmium’ is neither.

Clearly the man’s music isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but to have his name inscribed in the very annals of the science that’ll carry the human species ever further forward in history? That’d be pretty fucking cool. It’s not going to happen, but it would be cool.

I was a writer on the space exploration game No Man’s Sky earlier this year and, in amongst coming up with interactions in which you’re tricked into marriage with alien warriors or farted at by reptile traders, I also came up with a lot of the names of the minerals that the player mines on each planet.

It came to pass that during one of many (too many) nocturnal word-binges it was my job to come up with a bunch of these fake elements for gallant explorers to collect, trade and merge together. I was staring blankly at the wall, and Lemmium finally became reality. Well, ‘a’ reality anyway.

It’s a tiny Easter Egg really, but I like to think that metalheads the world give a little smile when it pops into their inventory. In the game, at least, Lemmium will forever be a permanent heavy metal fixture at the foot of the periodic table. A little slice of anarchy, deep in simulated space.


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