The fourth and latest update for Hello Games’s ambitious No Man’s Sky looks set to deliver on some features that players have been wanting since day one. After teasing big changes since their first announcement on March 29, we now have a trailer and patch details released on the Hello Games blog.
The biggest change, of course, is the addition of multiplayer. This was a feature that Hello claimed would be part of the game, in one way or another, since the game’s announcement and many players called foul when the game was released without it. It may have taken four updates, but we can now meet and play with other Travellers as we explore distant planets.
The blog says that we can play as friends or foes, build shelters or colonies together, fight as a pirate or wingman in space battles, and build racetracks to race exocraft through alien terrain. The blog post doesn’t specify the size of teams, other than to say they will be “small,” but the presence of 4 players together on the post’s graphic as well as throughout the trailer suggests that will be the number. They also say teams can be made up of friends or random encounters. No word on how, exactly, players are meant to find each other in the procedurally generated vastness of space; maybe that’s what the portals from the Atlas update will be for. Time will tell.
As a gamer who’s never been particularly fond of first-person view gameplay, I’m especially excited about the addition of third-person view. To facilitate this, they’ve added character customization. No word yet if you can create characters of other races, but the Gek featured in the trailer seems to hint that this will be an option, which would definitely be cool. Of course, first-person will continue to be available, which is nice because sometimes you really need an unobstructed full screen view to take in all that lush landscape.
Speaking of the landscape, they’ve beefed up the procedural generation to enhance the ground, water, and sky textures. Ringed planets are now available, which brings another level of visuals when traveling through space between planets. Visual details to ships, buildings, and NPCs are also being enhanced.
Layers of gameplay are also being added both on the ground and in space. Planetside, hundreds of new base parts have been added, allowing bases to be built anywhere on a planet and suggesting that underwater bases may finally be achievable. Bases can now be larger and more complex, presumably to accommodate teams, and players can own multiple bases. In space, you can now assemble and command fleets of ships from your freighter, which now have more options for customization. You can send your fleet out to explore the reaches of the universe or a particular star system, or participate in multiplayer missions from the Galactic Commission Station.
I’m easily more excited about this update for No Man’s Sky than any other we’ve seen previously. I’m clearing a few hours in my schedule on July 24th, when the update launches, to explore all the new features and gameplay options.