No Man's Sky's latest update, NEXT, has been met with an overwhelmingly positive reception from players, even bumping up the game's lifetime reviews on Steam from "Negative" to "Mixed". The single biggest change to the game was undoubtedly the additional of full multiplayer, though there were also countless tweaks to other aspects of the game, including its procedural generation.
Thanks to the new update, and an expanded playerbase following the game's Xbox One release, new life has been breathed into the game. Many players new and old are exploring the infinite universe and finding out just how diverse No Man's Sky's ecosystems can become.
The planets and creatures of No Man's Sky were always rather interesting, but the variation seems to be much greater since the NEXT update. The game's subreddit is teeming with screenshots of crazy discoveries as a result, and here are 15 of the absolute best that have emerged since the big changes.
15 Planet Earth
In a universe of strange planets and alien marvels, how about a little taste of home? With the countless crazy modifiers at play in No Man's Sky's prodedural generation, it's actually very rare to find an Earth-like planet. What makes this makes this a particularly great discovery is that it even has a rocky moon just like ours.
14 Giant teddy bears
While most of the creatures I discover look like someone merged a slug with the back end of a baboon, it appears that there truly is some cuteness out there in the universe. These giant Ewoks were found roaming all over the planet, and this one even appears to be non-aggressive to the nearby player. What a guy.
13 Whatever this thing is
Look, everyone's seen a Horned Purple Hippo-Dragon before, but when they grow to this size things start to get a little ridiculous. Trypticon808 on Reddit found this absolute monstrosity on his travels, and luckily managed to grab a screenshot before things got ugly(er).
12 Mushroom Forest
Clearly, it's not just the fauna of No Man's Sky that makes for such interesting discoveries - the flora can take all kinds of interesting forms too. Here, TheJonzo gazes hungrily at what appears to be a forest made of giant mushrooms.
11 Horrifying Giant Insect
It's said that all life is sacred, but it's probably justified to purge this particular life with the flames of Hell. Reddit user ichigo2k9 found this unspeakable horror, and said it was so large that the ground shook as it walked. Terrifying.
10 Jurassic World
This discovery is a fantastic one for the same reason that the Planet Earth one is: it's really interesting to see a completely random creation engine spit out recognizable things. A player named nms-explorer posted this one to Reddit, and many of his fellow players have agreed that it's the closest creature to a T-Rex that the community has found to date.
9 Skyscraper-sized trees
Here's another example of just how crazy the flora of No Man's Sky can get. This tree is so outrageously tall that Dorintin wasn't even able to get the whole thing in frame. The discovery looks to have been made on an ocean planet too, making it likely for there to be countless tiny islands with these gargantuan trees dotted all over its surface.
8 Skyscraper-sized tree with treehouse
This one may look similar to the last, but it's actually a completely different planet discovered by Reddit user Private-Miller. While this tree might not be quite as huge as the last, the pretty pink rings visible in the atmosphere combined with Private-Miller's base-building skills surely justify a second giant tree making the list.
7 Horizon: Zero Dawn Tallneck
Anyone who has played Horizon: Zero Dawn remembers the satisfying experience of climbing a Tallneck, and will recognize just how similar this discovery is to those iconic robotic beasts. This one was discovered by a player by the name of A_Hideous_Beast, though hopefully after taking the screenshot they didn't climb the creature's neck and stick an electronic spear into its skull.
6 This majestic creature
It appears that absolutely glorious can be added to list of creature-types No Man's Sky is able to randomly generate, thanks to this handsome devil that graciously posed for a screenshot. Discovered by Nilltris, it appears as though someone has crossed a tiger with an eagle, and then imbued it with the wisdom of a thousand men.
5 The Big Boy
While decidedly not majestic, it can't be argued that this creature discovered by Pheoniix doesn't have its own special brand of charm. There's a lesson for us all to be found in a blob that looks like Jabba the Hut being so clearly content with its own existence.
4 2-Headed Dinosaur
This is arguably the most unique discovery on the list, given that the vast majority of Redditors who commented on the post by idunnowhatibedoing weren't even aware that two-headed creatures could exist. In fact, it's very possible that they can't exist, and that this is simply a wonderful glitch including two separate one-headed animals. Since such a glitch would still technically count as a cool discovery, this 6-legged 2-headed guy still makes it on to the list.
3 Giant Triceratops
Continuing with the dinosaur theme, this giant triceratops found by finalxeffect is a contender for the biggest absolute unit on this list. Extra points also have to awarded for the action shot of a player fleeing in terror, which really captures the emotion of the moment.
2 Underground Jungle
Of all the tweaks NEXT has made to procedural generation, one that keeps cropping up in discoveries is giant caves. This particularly beautiful example found by boramdarkwill shows that the uniformly shallow caves of No Man Sky's past have been replaced by ones that are big enough to house entire ecosystems.
1 Extra-Terrestrial Cuddles
After finding a planet populated by the purple cousins of the giant Ewoks from #2, aptly-named explorer smiley-phace somehow managed to get in close for the perfect, heartwarming screenshot. This proves beyond all doubt that in a universe full of exotic curiosities, the greatest discovery of all is friendship.
No Man's Sky is out now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.