By this point in the year, you’d have to have been living in the furthest corner of the galaxy to have never heard of No Man’s Sky. The game has garnered for itself an unprecedented level of notoriety, having crumpled with astonishing force under the weight of anticipation from a fan-base who were fed what we will politely call red herrings. It currently stands as one of the lowest rated games on the Steam store, with many of the reviews pointing out that the game simply wasn’t what it claimed to be.
The development team behind the title, Hello Games, have issued many a statement reassuring the hordes of disgruntled fans that they are hard at work trying to bring the promised content to No Man’s Sky; after 3 months, however, the only real drama arrived in the form of a fake post on Twitter that simply read: “No Man’s Sky was a mistake.” The dev team have, to all intents and purposes, remained utterly silent, in the wake of what was a frankly catastrophic release.
On Sunday, No Man’s Sky received the first of what Hello Games are promising will be many, many free patches. Entitled the Foundation update, the focus is clearly on offering more by way of gameplay than simply exploration of the vast universe, and brings with it a ton of new features, a few of which are actually pretty substantial. For the full list of patch notes – it’s a whopper – take a look at the official page here, but in the mean-time, let’s run through the essence of what’s new to No Man’s Sky.
The Foundation update brings with it three separate ways to play, of which two are brand new. Aside from the standard Normal mode, you’ll also be able to play on Creative, which allows for limitless exploration and – crucially – base building, and also Survival, which essentially turns the difficulty up to ten. I’m feeling some Minecraft-ian vibes, I’ll admit, but to be blunt I think Hello games could learn a lot from Mojang.
This is the big one, and was one of the features so conspicuously lacking from the game on release day. Construct your own bespoke home on a planet of your choosing, then hire a few alien lackeys to help with research or farming (the latter of which is possible now through the miracle of hydroponics), place a Teleporter for easy access, and put your feet up. “But what if I find an even more awesome planet whilst on my travels?” I hear you ask. No problem. Just dismantle your old base, get a full refund on the resources used, and move house.
This feature is tailored toward those of you who fancy testing yourself on Survival mode. You are now able to place save points anywhere in the No Man’s Sky universe, and can also build any essential equipment on-planet whenever the mood takes you. Waypoints are another new feature, which is great for marking that phallic-shaped plant you found and named in a different quadrant of the galaxy; you’ll also be able to leave sub-space messages for other players, but keep it clean, please.
Last but not least, the Foundation update offers a brand new way to make the most of the final frontier in the form of extortionately priced Freighter ships. Their purpose? Consider them a floating version of the new bases, complete with resource storage, farming abilities, and bespoke interiors. Fill the decks with crew members, teleport your hard-earned resources directly on board, and even request them at any planet you set foot on: provided you’ve got the cash, a Freighter has just what you need.
There are also a ton of new material and technological items to unlock, as well as graphical improvements in the form of anti-aliasing and improved motion blur, but I’ll leave them for you to browse on the page linked above. From what I can see, however, this update seems to be making all the right noises, and whilst Hello Games have suggested that this may not be the largest of the free updates to come it is certainly deserving of the name Foundation, laying as it has the building blocks for a game less devoid of life than perhaps it was on release day.
The Foundation update (that’s version 1.1 to you) for Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky is out now on console and PC, available free of charge.