No Man’s Sky has a big update coming to the game next week with something that Hello Games is calling No Man’s Sky Next. With multiplayer and slew of other features on the horizon for the game and a ton of recent press coverage, it’s looking like the developer is going to get a rare second chance to shine after one of the most controversial game launches in history.
There’s more than one party at fault for the No Man’s Sky controversy. Hello Games has taken some of the blame for misleading consumers regarding what 2016 No Man’s Sky was, but the rest of the fault rests at the feet of journalists who took their word for it. The outcome was a incredibly polarizing game. The launch version of No Man’s Sky was an isolated space nomad experience that had players exploring a procedural generated universe. It certainly was not a game that was for everyone, and didn’t align with what was promised or what consumers anticipated. No Man’s Sky was a victim of its own hype.
The No Man’s Sky Hype Cycle Continues
Despite the controversy surrounding No Man’s Sky at launch, developer Sean Murray believes that Hello Games delivered on their vision for the game. In a recent interview, Murray talks about potential updates and features in No Man’s Sky that will follow the Next Update before going too far and saying, “We’ve learnt our lesson! I’m just saying that it’s like we delivered, for me, it delivered on that vision,” says the developer. “I was super happy with the way we delivered on the vision at the start, but there was bags of potential that you could see.”
The No Man’s Sky Next Update is being billed as the update that will finally bring the game to “what it should’ve been” in 2016, what people thought it was going to be, or better yet, what the developers of the game explained it to be. There were many misleading moments in the year leading up to the launch of No Man’s Sky in 2016. There were misleading videos and interviews, most famously where Murray told Late Show host Stephen Colbert that there was multiplayer in the game though players would infrequently encounter it.
Regardless, No Man’s Sky Next isn’t the game that should’ve launched two years ago. It’s the game that is the byproduct of the backlash, criticism, and feedback that Hello Games received. All of the new features in the Next Update, like the base building, freighters, co-op, and missions — Murray says that “none of these things existed, and we’ve kind of had to build the game out for multiplayer to make sense.”
So why didn’t Hello Games have all of these features in the game at launch? Couldn’t they just have went into Early Access like so many other games do and deliver this complete product a couple of years later? Not according to the developer. “It could never have been that at launch,” says Murray. “A lot of the stuff is coming from the community. We’re listening to them. That’s our way of focusing ourselves and deciding what to do.”
Nevertheless, Murray and Hello Games find themselves in a familiar situation heading into the launch of No Man’s Sky Next. This free game update has already been made out to be the magic bullet that fixes everything about No Man’s Sky and that’s likely going to once again raise the bar so high for the game that it’ll unlikely be able to clear it.
No Man’s Sky Next is getting ready for release on July 24th. The update will be free for PlayStation 4 and PC players. Alongside the update, No Man’s Sky will make its debut on the Xbox One, where it’s being sold for $49.99.