Following a tumultuous launch in August, the developers of No Man’s Sky introduce Version 1.1—Hello Games’ first major update to one of 2016’s biggest releases. Exploring an endless universe planet by planet drew the allure of many gamers leading up to No Man’s Sky’s release, but technical issues and a lack of features snowballed into a PR nightmare. The small development team went radio silent while their game lost 94% of its player-base on Steam only a month after release. Now, at the end of November, with the dust more or less settled, Version 1.1 is the first of “many free updates”. Watch their video overview for the update below.
Version 1.1 addresses many areas of the game, including how players choose to approach gameplay. The addition of two other game modes creates a degree of variation similar to Minecraft with Creative and Survival modes making their debut. Survival creates a more challenging experience on top of the default Normal mode, while Creative enables players to explore and build without resource limitations.
Building, farming, storage, equipment, and user interface all get a facelift with Version 1.1 for No Man’s Sky. Players now have the ability to claim a home planet and build an outpost with the resources they’ve collected. From these bases, players research new farming, engineering, and weapon technologies with the help of alien lifeforms. Outposts also have the capacity to cultivate plants in hydroponic labs and store the plentiful bounties of deep space.
Freighters, available for purchase at “great expense”, duplicate the role of outposts while presenting the ability to move around the galaxy at the owner’s summons. Their interiors may be customized for storage and resource production. Alien recruitment allows for further technology research.
Visual improvements find their way into No Man’s Sky with the addition of motion blur and temporal anti aliasing (TAA), an effort to enhance immersion and visual clarity from what was presented at launch. The user interface sees changes with the introduction of the Quick Access Menu, card stacking, and the differentiation between specific elements. Accessing necessary tools becomes much faster through the new menu option, and stacking cards allows for increased storage capacity.
While these additions and changes seem good for the game, many of the initial criticisms brought against No Man’s Sky remain unaddressed, such as the lack of multiplayer purported by early footage and marketing for the title. There also doesn’t seem to be any word of expanding what players can actually accomplish while going planet to planet for resources. Providing the ability to build and store more stuff arguably doesn’t provide more incentive to repeating the same tasks over and over. Version 1.1, as Hello Games understands it, is the foundation for things to come. Only time will tell if people disappointed by the game ever give it a second chance.