No Man's Sky developer Hello Games has broken its silence after a tumultuous launch in August by revealing a major update to the infinite space exploration game that makes some fundamental changes to how and what players can do in its universe.
The Foundation Update (version 1.1), as it's called, focuses on allowing players to make more of a mark on the universe by building a home base and purchasing a large space freighter. Both can be manually modified to suit players' tastes and needs, and help them more comfortably explore infinity by offering more space to store and manage resources.
Basically, whereas the original version of the game allowed the player to customize their experience and progress only by upgrading their space suit and small ship, the Foundation Update adds two more upgrade paths that don't only give them more things to do, they'll also make flying around the universe and collecting resources easier.
It's essentially the same game, so if the idea of landing on randomly generated planets, which are ultimately not that different from one another, is not that appealing to you, this changes nothing. But if the basic loop of landing on a planet, collecting resources, upgrading your stuff, and flying back into space to repeat the cycle was fun, the Foundation Update makes that cycle way deeper and more interesting.
There are quite a bit more details in the trailer for the Foundation Update, so let's get into the highlights:
- No Man's Sky now has three game modes:
Normal: this is the original version of the game you already know.
Creative: Allows players to create and explore the universe freely (presumably you won't need resources to travel or worry about getting blown out of the sky all the time).
Survival: Will test players' endurance. Not clear what that means, but I imagine it's an infinite normal mode, perhaps with some more challenging rules.
- Players can now deploy equipment and build save points.
- Players can also build automated mining devices. Instead of pointing the mining tool at a rock for minutes at a time, simply place a mining bot on it.
- There are more resources to collect, and resources that you'll only find in specific biomes. This addresses one common complaint against the game: No matter how different the planets looked, they basically all offered the same resources, so the differences seemed superficial. Now, different planets actually offer different rewards.
- There will be planets that are completely dead: no resources and no buildings where you can visit aliens and so on.
- New UI changes, including a quick access menu and stackable resources. THANK GOD. Not being able to stack a certain amount of carbon or warp cells artificially limited your inventory space. It was frustrating and unnecessary, so I'm glad that's being addressed.
- Terrain algorithms (in other words, the math that randomly generated the shape of a planet) have been changed to create more interesting-looking planets. I'll have to see this one in-game to believe it.
- Players can claim a home planet and create an outpost. The video shows a player expanding the base from a first person perspective, not block-by-block like in Minecraft, but by adding ready-made units of enclosed space. Players can grow their own plants here, recruit aliens to stay at their outpost, and teleport there at any time.
- Purchase interstellar freighters. You'll be able to send resources you collect on a planet to your freighter, then transfer large quantities to systems where the prices are more in your favor. You can add cargo holds, crew, and more abs where you can grow materials, like in the home base. The interior of the freighter can also be modified like the home base.
- Some minor graphical updates like motion blur and better anti-aliasing.
The trailer makes all of this looks very promising. It made me think about and want to play No Man's Sky again for the first time in months. However, it's important to remember that the reason that No Man's Sky got such a vitriolic response from players is that it failed to live up to the promises made by well-made trailers. So let's not get too excited until this thing is out in the wild.
Hello Games said The Foundation update is the first update of many, and the foundation of things to come. At the least, it certainly seems like Hello Games is committed to improving No Man's Sky for the foreseeable future.