Everyone here at Pixelrater was really looking forward to No Man’s Sky when it released. I remember Daney, Tristan, and myself group chatting via PSN as we anxiously waited for the game to unlock at midnight. The hour and a half seemed excruciating when you’ve had so much pent up excitement to dive into the gameplay combination Sean Murray kept feeding us. There was going to be online multiplayer, base building, nearly infinite planet, plant, and animal combinations. All begging to be discovered and explored for the first time. It was supposed to be a beautiful epic space adventure, and it’s $59 price tag appeared to back that up.
But then the game dropped and I was immediately notified of my depleting resources the moment I stepped out of my ship. After hours and hours of playing it became clear that NMS wasn’t an adventure, it was an inventory management system with a very finite number of inventory slots. Take that away and you don’t have a game. After about a week or so of flying from planet to planet everything started to blur together. The thick lush foliage shown in the trailers was virtually nonexistent and the animal life wasn’t nearly as awe inspiring as what we’d seen leading up to release. In short, Sony and Hello Games dropped the ball hard. It wasn’t long before angry gamers started requesting refunds and having them granted and it got to the point where Steam banned bullshots (screenshots not representative of actual gameplay) from their store. We’re not sure what took Valve so long there, but at least it finally happened. Things escalated to the point that NMS was under investigation by in the UK for false advertising (as of writing Hello Games has been cleared of any false advertising claims). As if this utter PR shit storm wasn’t bad enough, both Sean Murray and Hello Games decided to go radio silent on the matter, opting to release incremental patches for the game instead. It stayed that way for months through patch 1.0.9.
That changed this past week when a big free content update appropriately titled the Foundation Update released for free across PS4 and PC, bringing with it an enormous amount of tweaks and refinements to the UI, menus, algorithms, graphics and audio engines, and more. The headlining feature is the ability to build your own base on a planet you can claim as home. Not only can you have a home planet, but now if you save your space monies you can buy a space freighter to be your home away from home. Players can also set permanent color coded beacons across different planets that show up as waypoints for warping back to later. Gone are the days of discovering something beautiful and having to abandon it and never see it again. All this very much goes against the idea of getting to the center of the galaxy which I think is great because, honestly, the ending is bullshit (spoiler ending). You can now recruit various aliens to aid you in engineering, scientific research, and more. Another welcome addition is resource farming and auto harvesters which do what their names imply. If you want to chillax without any restrictions to health or resources you can start a separate game in Creative Mode, similar to one of Will and my favorite games we’ve talked about quite often, Subnautica. On the flip side, if you want a more challenging space survival experience you can start a new game in Survival Mode and expose yourself to harsher weather conditions, more hostile sentinels, and significantly reduced resources.
After installing the update I found a gorgeous planet to call home and tried to find a home base. I flew and scanned and flew and scanned for hours, refusing to leave this new planet after falling in love. After searching with no luck I put the game down for a bit and wondered if maybe the planet had a home base at all. Later that night I popped back in and discovered pressing up on the d-pad displays the Tech Menu. From there I was able to build a beacon, scan specifically for a home base, and in a matter of seconds fly to it. I made a video showing how to do it since the game doesn’t tell you and I wasn’t able to scan for it while in orbit like others. Since then I’ve recruited a scientist to help develop new resources and expanded on my base a bit.
Truth be told, I’m not sure how much longer this update will keep me invested, but I do know it has me excited for future updates moving forward. It also shows the tiny 18 person British indie team wants to make right on their vision, and for that I applaud them. I’d much rather have them churn our updates post launch than to take the money and run without updating the game as others have suggested. You can check out the full press release with all the updates and tweaks here