The new major content update for the procedurally-generated space exploration game No Man’s Sky has finally been properly revealed, and it’s massive. While Hello Games had already teased the new update, titled “NEXT,” back in March, yesterday's unveiling may alleviate two years of hopes, confusions, and betrayals: it appears that, finally, true multiplayer has arrived to the 18 quintillion planets of the No Man’s Sky universe.
For the two years since launch, the indie game — developed by a small team of approximately twelve employees, helped along by Sony — was plagued by accusations of fraud and deception, going so far as to prompt the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority to investigate Hello Games for misleading consumers. (They were later cleared by the watchdog group.) The studio's lead director Sean Murray persisted through these complaints, spearheading a series of free updates for the game that provided additional features not available upon release, including base-building, planet-side vehicles, and even a kind of makeshift multiplayer; in update “The Atlas Rises,” players could team up to explore planets together, but would only exist in their companion’s games as placeholder-like glowing spheres. And now, he's taken the game a step further.
All of these incremental changes laid the foundation for something like “NEXT,” and yesterday's announcement may end up presenting the version of No Man’s Sky gamers have always wanted. Hello Games’ Sean Murray proudly tweeted yesterday, “Play No Man’s Sky with your friends online July 24th,” thus confirming the news of multiplayer. The update couldn’t have arrived at a better time, with the title incidentally launching on Xbox One on the same day, complete with all previous updates in tow.
Play No Man’s Sky with your friends online July 24th— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) May 18, 2018
A free update for PS4, PC, and launch on Xbox. Explore together, meet random travellers, build shared bases, dog fight, race vehicles. We’re so happy this is ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つFINALLY༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ happening pic.twitter.com/m4iOujJFVY
Murray’s letter to fans posted on the official website goes into greater detail, describing the ability to, “bump into random travelers" and "help friends to stay alive or prey on others to survive.” Players will be able to engage in dogfights and space battles, build complex colonies together, and even design tracks and trails to race their vehicles in this newly connected virtual environment.
If some of these gameplay aspects sound familiar, it’s because they were on the minds of all who witnessed the original No Man’s Sky reveal at E3 in 2014, prompting a widespread enthusiasm unprecedented for an indie game. There was a kind of dream being realized in the pitch, the ability to pilot spacecraft through the galactic wilderness of old pulp sci-fi covers, to live out Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy in real time. The eventual disclosure of No Man’s Sky not quite living up to its expectations was a sobering experience and, while it became a financial success, the game has struggled in the shadow of its broken promises ever since.
While naysayers are bound to rear their heads in the coming months — and they’re already peppered throughout the replies on Murray’s tweet — they are arguably outnumbered by gamers excited for the authentic No Man's Sky experience they've wanted from the beginning.
Source: Hello Games/Twitter