Space exploration game No Man's Sky finally offers players a look at the full multiplayer gameplay they've been promised since launch. When the game first appeared two years ago, hopes were running high. Hello Games' ambitious design offered a rich, procedurally-generated universe with millions of planets for players to explore. Even better, they'd be able to play together and leave a small mark on the game. Early demos wowed and drew plenty of attention, even as the game's director tried to temper expectations.
Then the game came out and reviews were mixed at best. The worlds weren't as detailed as early demos promised. Gameplay quickly became tedious and repetitive. Worst of all, multiplayer was essentially nonexistent. The outcry grew loud enough that a UK watchdog agency even investigated the developers for false advertising. Fast forward two years, and now Hello Games is putting the finishing touches on a new expansion for the game called "NEXT."
An advance look at the NEXT expansion shows off that long-awaited multiplayer gameplay. The trailer follows a pilot through a number of environments. Right away it becomes clear that Hello has refined the visual experience. Planets and creatures sport more detail on these newly shiny worlds. Other pilots run through the background collecting materials or jumping into spacecraft. Once in orbit, they watch as a fleet of larger ships warps into view.
Part of NEXT's contribution to full multiplayer includes the chance for players to run their own fleet. They will be able to collect and command a number of freighters to participate in dogfights or deep-space exploration. They'll even be able to customize and build their own freighters and crew them with friends. While No Man's Sky was criticized for being isolating, this expansion clearly places the priority on team play.
While the initial release underwhelmed, Hello Games has stayed consistently active on the development front. The Foundation update added base-building a few months later, while the Pathfinder update included land rovers. The Atlas Rising expansion in 2017 brought in a new story and some limited multiplayer. These updates offered some reward to players who had stuck out the experience, but the game still had a ways to go. NEXT looks to address the biggest issues fans have brought up over the last two years.
NEXT launches next week alongside the game's debut on Xbox One. That version includes every update and expansion made for the game so far. With new features and a new console to draw players from, they hope to reclaim some of the excitement they enjoyed early. Before it hit the shelves, No Man's Sky promised gamers a universe of worlds they could explore together. Now it looks like it's finally ready to deliver.
Source: Hello Games
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