No Man's Sky: Beyond has been announced by developer Hello Games, and the first part of the upcoming free update will be a new multiplayer experience called No Man's Sky Online. The developer is hyping the new release up as a radical change to the way No Man's Sky previously handled online interaction.
No Man's Sky: Beyond is the latest evolution in the life cycle of No Man's Sky, a process that began with the last major update, No Man's Sky NEXT. NEXT introduced several key features to the game, including a third-person perspective that makes exploration more aesthetically pleasing, and also served as the starting point for the beginning of Hello Games' multiplayer plan. NEXT was always intended to lay the groundwork for future updates as well, which all seem to revolve around the notion of improving the game's multiplayer experience and functionality moving forward.
No Man's Sky: Beyond will arrive this summer on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and will contain what's being described as "three major updates" that will be rolled into one larger, free release. As it stands, the only known part of this planned update is currently No Man's Sky Online, which was described by Hello Games' co-founder Sean Murray in a statement accompanying the announcement:
"No Man's Sky Online includes a radical new social and multiplayer experience which empowers players everywhere in the universe to meet and play together...these changes are an answer to how we have seen people playing since the release of NEXT, and is something we've dreamed of for a long time."
Murray was careful not to describe No Man's Sky Online using a genre, so it would be unfair to expect it to radically change things to the extent that the game will now be an MMO, but Murray did say it would have many "recognisable online elements." That probably means No Man's Sky Online will be mimicking features from other popular online games and iterating on them, and it will require no subscription, have no microtransactions, and will be launched free from the beginning for all No Man's Sky players.
No Man's Sky Online has the potential to launch the game back into the spotlight, an amazing feat that would only serve to bolster Hello Games' surging reputation as a development studio. Hello Games has done a frankly incredible job at salvaging the reputation of a game that was considered by many to be the most disappointing release in modern gaming, and slowly but surely, No Man's Sky is winning back many of the people who were initially enamored with the promise of its vast, unknown worlds. With two more major updates to accompany it, No Man's Sky: Beyond is one of the updates to watch heading into what will likely be another busy summer in the gaming industry.
Source: No Man's Sky Official Website