To say that No Man’s Sky has been the gaming disappointment of 2016 would be a gross understatement. Its developer Hello Games and specifically the game’s director Sean Murray rode a hype train all the way from the game’s announcement in late 2013 to its release in August of this year. The end result was a game missing dozens of features, riddled with game-breaking bugs and generally far short of what Sean Murray promised eager fans. It’s been a PR nightmare on multiple levels and it didn’t help that shortly after the game launched, Hello Games went silent in late September.
Many fans, myself included, concluded that Hello Games had taken the money and ran. It turns out that they’ve actually been working on a massive content update to address many of the fan community’s biggest concerns. The 1.1 “Foundation update” adds a myriad of features, including:
Survival mode: tougher enemies, more hostile planets, scarce resources
Creative mode: infinite resources for relaxed play and building
Base building, with the ability to assign a home planet, grow crops, recruit multiple alien experts to research new tech, and teleport instantly to space stations
Star freighters can now be purchased and summoned from anywhere in the galaxy, for mass-hauling of resources
These are only a few of the additions, but smaller improvements include a cleaner HUD, balancing to the previously infuriating inventory management and tweaks to the economy in the game. These updates make No Man’s Sky feel far more like a complete, retail-ready game as opposed to the buggy, barren, excruciatingly repetitive alpha we were given at launch. Not only is this a huge content addition, but there’s nothing vague or cagey about it—fans can go and put their hands on all these updates now. It's a far cry from the guesswork we've had to do leading up to the game, when no one was really sure what to expect.
I have no doubt that No Man’s Sky still has a long way to go before it’s the game that Sean Murray promised us, but considering he and his team have made this many improvements in just four months, I think there might actually be a future in this game. Paint me pleasantly surprised.