Video Games

My, How No Man’s Sky Has Changed in Its First Year

No Man's Sky Atlas Rises

No Man’s Sky originally released in August of 2016 after years of anticipation. The problem is that the game that launched was a barely recognizable imitation of the concept that was pitched, and throngs of Internet lurkers typed long-winded rants about how unfair all of this was, how we’d all been scammed.

For a whole year now, No Man’s Sky‘s creators at Hello Games have been toiling away, iterating on the formula to bring the whole thing closer to the version we’d all hoped for. And, for the most part, I’d say they’re succeeding.

Crafting and harvesting, which were painfully shallow at launch, have been vastly improved. Players can now construct bases and buy massive freighters. ATV-like vehicles (called Exocraft) can be summoned while out exploring to make terrain traversal slicker. The newest update, Atlas Rises, brings in more story, dynamic quests, and the vaguest foundation for multiplayer gameplay. On top of all of this, the color palette has been greatly improved, so we can walk through fields of waving neon grass toward a bright pink sunset, as we were promised in early promotional material.

No Man's Sky Atlas Rises

And that’s just scratching the surface of what’s changed.

Hello Games doesn’t have to do any of this. They’re not charging a penny for these updates. While there is one tangible benefit to point to — the game has been selling gangbusters since the release of the Atlas Rises update — it feels like creator Sean Murray and the gang at Hello Games are doing this because they’re passionate about this game. It’s their baby, and they’re seeing this through, whether we praise the for it or not.

Have we come to the end of the road? I doubt it. Hello Games is already teasing deeper multiplayer functionality, which suggests there will be more updates to come. Personally, I wouldn’t mind a deep re-tooling of the creature spawning system.

But in the meantime, I’ve been enjoying the hell out of No Man’s Sky again. It’s not exactly the game I wanted at launch, but it’s an enormous galaxy closer, and my faith in the future of this strange game has been mostly restored.

If you want to see how the game has changed over it’s first year, We’ve collected some trailers.

The announcement trailer, published in December, 2013:

The trailer from E3 2014, published on June 9, 2014:

The launch trailer, published August 9, 2016:

No Man’s Sky Version 1.1: Foundation:

No Man’s Sky Version 1.2: Path Finder:

No Man’s Sky Version 1.3: Atlas Rises:

 

Josh Wirtanen owns this place and has opinions about pretty much everything. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuajwirtanen.