Hello Games / ScarecrowQ
One of the most highly-anticipated, controversial games of the past decade was the gorgeous “No Man’s Sky.”
Originally released for the PlayStation 4 and PC in August 2016, “No Man’s Sky” promised an infinitely explorable universe full of mystery and excitement. What players found instead was an infinite universe without much to do, and no way to interact with each other.
Updates released over the subsequent months helped bolster the game’s list of activities, but this week’s “Next” update is the biggest yet. It adds the much-requested multiplayer — a feature that was originally announced for the game that disappeared before launch.
Alongside the update, “No Man’s Sky” is finally available on the Xbox One as well. Given the massive evolution of the game over the past two years, we’ve put together the five most important additions and changes below.
First things first: What is the “Next” update?
Since launching in August 2016, “No Man’s Sky” has received at least three major updates. Some of those updates added things you’ll see below, like the ability to build bases. With “Next,” the game finally gets multiplayer — the most requested feature since even before “No Man’s Sky” launched.
In fact, multiplayer is at the heart of the controversy around “No Man’s Sky.”
In a nutshell: Excited fans were upset that the game’s creative director, Sean Murray, promised multiplayer ahead of launch. When the game shipped without it, and Murray and his studio Hello Games went quiet, some folks were mad.
With the addition of multiplayer in Next, and the trio of previous major updates to “No Man’s Sky,” the game much more closely resembles what players wanted two years ago.
Best of all: Next is a totally free update if you already own “No Man’s Sky” on PlayStation 4 and PC. And if you want it on Xbox One, the game is available on Xbox One as of this week for $50.
Exploring the infinite universe of “No Man’s Sky” was terribly lonesome. But with the “Next” update, you can now explore with a small group of friends. Team up with people you know, or allow strangers to wander into your corner of the universe.
It works pretty much like you’d expect.
If you build a base, your friend sees it. If you alter a planet’s terrain, your friend sees that too. And if you want to tackle the game’s story missions together, that’s an option. Multiplayer seemingly applies to every aspect of the “No Man’s Sky” experience — explore crashed freighters together, or get into outer space dogfights, or whatever else!
2. Base-building (and sharing).
The ability to craft a base has been around since the first major update to “No Man’s Sky” — the “Foundation” update. Its functionality was expanded in subsequent updates, and now you can even share your bases (and share in the creation of bases) with friends.
Bases are of course crucial not just for offering a reprieve from the elements, but also as a means of growing/harvesting materials that can be used or traded. Perhaps most importantly of all, bases are totally sweet.
3. A new universe.
The way that “No Man’s Sky” achieves its grandeur is through algorithms that generate its infinite universe. Since the game’s original launch in 2016, the infinite universe of “No Man’s Sky” got a big makeover — more specifically, the algorithms that power its infinite universe and the data they pull from got a big makeover.
What that means for you and me is that the game’s planets are richer, more varied, and more interesting to explore.
4. Fast-travel portals.
Even though it’s relatively quick to hop in your starship and fly to another planet, interstellar travel becomes a chore quickly. Thankfully, there are portals that enable a form of quick travel — a direct link between distant places, near-instantly.
5. Space freighters.
Who doesn’t like a large, menacing spaceship? That’s exactly what space freighters are — the equivalent of a shipping truck, but in space. Oh, and they’ve got lasers, so maybe don’t take one on by yourself.
You can even buy your own and use it as a portable space base! Or perhaps you’ll come across the ruins of one on a planet, and you and a friend will plunder it for treasures. Who knows!
And we’re just scratching the surface here in terms of new stuff in “No Man’s Sky” — there are new vehicles to cruise around in, and the whole game can be played in third-person, and Hello Games is promising a 30-hour mission-based campaign. In so many words, if you were a bit let down by the game at launch or if you never played it in the first place, now sounds like a good time to jump in.
Check out the launch trailer for “No Man’s Sky: Next” right here: