No Man's Sky

Sorry, early birds, you’ll have to wipe your save data.

No Man's Sky

Sean Murray and the team at Hello Games have posted a lengthy update regarding No Man’s Sky day-one patch on the game’s official website. The update is huge, and so much of the game has changed. Murray has not-so-subtly pointed out that the game that consumers will be playing on launch day is very different from the game that some eager beavers, some of whom paid baffling amounts of money to obtain the game early, have been playing for some time now.

Of course there were typical fixes on the docket – some exploits, bugs, and oddities that needed some TLC – but in addition to those things some substantial gameplay adjustments have been made. It’s not a different game solely because the team got rid of some bugs, it’s a different game because of the altering and adding of some major mechanics. The list of changes is actually pretty huge, so I’ll just highlight a few here that I thought to be especially significant:

  • The Three Paths – there are now new, unique “paths” you can follow throughout the game. You must start the game on a fresh save, with the patch, as early choices have significant impact on what you see later in the game, and the overall experience.
  • The Universe – we changed the rules of the universe generation algorithm. Planets have moved. Environments have changed biomes. Galaxies have altered shape. All to create greater variety earlier. Galaxies are now up to 10x larger.
  • Diversity – Creatures are now more diverse in terms of ecology and densities on planets.
  • Trading – trading is deeper. Star systems and planets each have their own wants and needs, based off a galactic economy. Observing these is the key to successful trading. We still working onNo Man's Sky Ship adjusting this based on how everyone plays, but all trading values have been rebalanced across the galaxy, giving a greater depth. A bunch of trade exploits were uncovered and have been removed
  • Survival – recharging hazard protection requires rare resources, making shielding shards useful again. Storms can be deadly. Hazard protection and suit upgrades have been added. Liquids are often more dangerous
  • Graphical effects – Lighting and texture resolution have been improved. Shadow quality has doubled. Temporal AA didn’t make it in time, but it’s so close
  • Balancing – several hundred upgrades have had stat changes (mainly exo-suit and ship, but also weapon), new upgrades have been added.
  • Combat – Auto Aim and weapon aim has been completely rewritten to feel more gentle in general, but stickier when you need it. Sentinels now alert each other, if they haven’t been dealt with quickly. Quad and Walker AI is now much more challenging, even I struggle with them without a powered up weapon.
  • Space Combat – advanced techniques have been introduced, like brake drifting and critical hits. Bounty missions and larger battles now occur. Pirate frequency has been increased, as well as difficulty depending on your cargo.
  • Writing – The Atlas path has been rewritten by James Swallow (writer on Deus Ex) and me.  I think it speaks to the over-arching theme of player freedom more clearly now. Early mission text has been rewritten to allow for multiple endings.

Believe it or not, that’s actually a brief, annotated list of changes made to No Man’s Sky. Murray states that this will be the first of many free updates. For those of us who will be playing the game at launch, a simple update before we boot up the game is all that will be required. For those who have been playing illegitimately, a total wipe of progress and save data will be required, as servers will be wiped today and tomorrow in preparation for launch. I wish all of you PS4 players happy explorations this Tuesday, and I bid PC players a pleasant wait until Friday when No Man’s Sky will finally launch on Steam.