Back in August of 2016 I was witness and part of one of the most overwhelming hype trains in gaming history, some might’ve even called it universal in scale — I apologize.
Nonetheless reporters and gamers alike were sucked into the black hole of hype that it became impossible to have a realistic view of what this game would actually be. Sean Murray, the head developer of No Man’s Sky, did not help this situation with his interviews and tweets brimming with excitement about his game. But once the game released, people began to realize that it wasn’t anything close to what the hype said it would be, naturally this caused waves of frustration and anger towards Hello Games. I think that Sean Murray got caught up in the hype of his game, and went down a path that he could foresee ending badly, overall the launch of this game was nothing short of a disaster.
It is now May of 2018, coming close to the two-year mark of No Man’s Sky being released, and a lot of people are asking the question: did they make up for what happened? So far we’ve seen three major content updates, The Foundation Update, The Pathfinder Update, and Atlas Rises. All of these added many new features such as base building, ground vehicles, improved AI and new story content. That short summary doesn’t do these updates justice, as the game really does feel more optimized and improved overall, but have they redeemed themselves?
Thoughts on the Game
Even though I don’t have a lot of hours in the game, there are aspects that I will cover that I like and dislike, because that will help set my perspective for how I answer this question. Initially this game is a blast to play, because you’re exploring brand new worlds, everything seems fresh and the universe is yours to explore. However, as you get further things start to slow down a little, as you are sort of repeating the same process with each planet you reach. Of course this is changed at two points, when you get a base, and when you get a freighter. Both of these allow you to customize your world and make something truly yours, which is an excellent feeling.
Besides those two things though, the only other motivation you have for progressing is the story, which is mysterious and somewhat vague during your travels. Unravelling the story can be entertaining, but to me it seems like a lot of grinding to get there. In addition, there is the achievement of reaching the center of the universe, though most people know by now that it is hardly a gratifying experience.
No Man’s Sky has some walls that you run into while playing, and sometimes this will make players want to avoid the game entirely. At the same time, it does provide the player with a good sense of exploration, discovery and hard-earned progress if you choose to climb those walls. It may not be my favorite game, but with the changes made so far, it is a game with a solid amount of content.
July 24th is the date set for the fourth large expansion, and I think it will be the update that really answers our question. One of the main reasons for me saying this is that Sean Murray in an interview said that a proper multiplayer mode will be added in the NEXT update. I checked the No Man’s Sky subreddit and already it’s teeming with life, and those who play are very excited about what this multiplayer update will bring. Though I am a bit hesitant to give in to the hype, because it feels eerily similar to the hype the existed before the game was released.
I think that this update will be what redeems No Man’s Sky, but only if it adds multiplayer in a way that really counts. I personally would love to see some sort of clan system implemented, so that you could make your mark on multiple planets and solar systems. But realistically they will probably just allow you to group with friends, play with each other and work together on bases and freighters, and explore the stars as a team. This is what people wanted originally, and now that they are gonna get it the game will be tested yet again. The true fans will love it regardless, but it is getting another chance to redeem itself in the eyes of the public, and I have a feeling that it will be a success leading to a satisfying and enjoyable gaming experience.