When No Man’s Sky first released, it brought a ton of controversy. Hello Games, the developer of the game, had made a ton of lofty promises and the initial release did not deliver on many of them.
In the three years since the game’s launch, Hello Games has continued to support and grow the title. They have added a lot of the features the original game lacked plus a whole lot more. Now, with the release of No Man's Sky Beyond, many players will jump back in for the first time in a while.
Here is everything that has changed about No Man's Sky since launch.
FOUNDATION - November 2016
The first major update for No Man’s Sky, Foundation, came in November of 2016, three months after the game’s launch.
This update split the game into three separate game modes: Normal, Survival, and Creative. Normal mode is the original game mode. Survival mode inflicts more extreme conditions on the player than the standard difficulty. Creative mode allows players to explore and create without the hassle of things like fuel, life support, and complicated upgrade systems.
Hello Games added a base building feature that lets players pick a planet and establish it as their home. Players can also farm plants. The team introduced the ability for players to purchase Freighters. Players can load the freighters with resources and summon them from anywhere in the galaxy. Freighters can stockpile goods and transport them long distances. They also have customization features.
Finally, the foundations update added some new resources, technology, and user interface improvements as well as some graphical enhancements like motion blur and anti-aliasing.
PATHFINDER - March 2017
The No Man's Sky Pathfinder update brought with it a lot of new vehicle modes and enhancements. The spaceships now have a specialization and class system. Players can choose between a Fighter, which has a combat focus; a Hauler, which features increased cargo storage; an Explorer, which provides more warp capabilities; or a Shuttle, which has well-rounded feature set.
Pathfinder also added ground vehicles called Exocrafts. Players can use these to move quickly around the surface of their home planet without using up their launch fuel. These also come in different types. The Nomad moves quickly, the Roamer is well-rounded and adaptable, and the Colossus lets players hull a ton of stuff around. The Exocrafts also allow players to create vehicle races.
This update started to introduce online features like base sharing. It added more shops, traders, weapon modes, and base building variety as well. Finally it introduced a bunch of visual enhancements. The game received better lighting and textures and added a 4k mode.
ATLAS RISES - August 2017
The No Man' Sky Atlas Rises update marked the one year anniversary of the game’s release. With all of the new content added throughout late 2016 and early 2017, Hello Games decided to set their sights on the game’s story. Atlas Rises overhauled the entire central storyline of No Man’s Sky. Players now have a lot more meaningful things to do as they play through the game’s main narrative.
The update also added a mission system to create a steady stream of content for players to gain standing with NPC races. Players can take delivery and fetch missions which allow them to better control how other races perceive them in the world.
The game also received trading, new ships, low planet flight, better space combat, and more visual upgrades. Plus, the Atlas update solved the mystery of the useless portals that players found littered around the game world. Now, players can use these portals to travel great distances, either planned or random. Players can also find wrecked freighters with loot inside.
Atlas also added a terrain manipulator to the multitool. Not only can players dig underneath the ground, but they can reshape the earth completely. They can create otherworldly shapes or wrap terrain around their bases to form little hobbit holes.
NEXT - July 2018
No Man’s Sky Next brought a true multiplayer experience to the game, which continues to grow. Now, players can meet other players in the game world, see them, and interact with them via emotes. They can also group together to create communal bases and share creations. Hello Games also added weekly community events to encourage players to group together.
Next also added a new perspective. Players can choose to play the game in first or third person, both inside and outside of the ship. This helps solve some of the difficulty players had with space combat because they couldn’t see enemies around them. It also gave the team a reason to add character customization. No Man’s Sky players can now choose their race and customize the look of their character and outfits.
Next added more detail to the spaceships, added lively markets to space stations filled with NPCs, and completely overhauled the UI. A lot of the Next update involved big changes under the hood. The team implemented new procedural tech that does a better job generating the world and created new upgrades for the multi-tool, Exosuit, and starships.
Finally, Next added the ability for players to command an entire fleet of freighters.
THE ABYSS - October 2018
A few month later, with The Abyss, No Man’s Sky became No Man’s Ocean. The update revamped the procedural generation system again in order to add more interesting stuff to the underwater portions of the planets. Players can dive deep, find aquatic creatures, explore underwater caves, and take aquatic-based missions.
In order to explore the underwater world, players can now equip diving helmets that look straight out of the Bioshock franchise. Players can also explore the depths with a customizable submarine vehicle. Hello Games dotted the oceans with ruins for players to explore.
VISIONS - November 2018
Visions focused on making the world of No Man’s Sky look better than ever. The artists injected the game with a previously unseen level of polish. While other updates cleaned up textures and made the procedural generation more interesting, Visions added some special flourishes.
The game got wilder and weirder biomes that feature new and more diverse creatures, like ones that can borrow under the ground. The game features a more varied and luscious diversity in the flora, fauna, color, and world layout. The game added new variations on the water and new atmospheric types. The game also has rainbows now.
As of Visions, players can scan and catalog archeological remains and dig up ancient technology from under the ground. The team added more weather phenomenons, hazardous flora, and sentient minerals that can get up and move around.
With Visions, Hello Games built a more varied experience for the player that made the world more dangerous, more beautiful, and more fun.
BEYOND - August 2019
No Man's Sky's most recent update, Beyond, dropped on the game's 3-year-anniversary. This patch made the jump to 2.0, and it brought a ton of new features. The game now supports play in VR. The game also increased the multiplayer count. Up to 8 players on console and 32 players on PC can now roam around the world together. The game now features a social hub called the Space Anomaly that supports 16 players on all platforms. Players can meet there and take new missions together.
The new update also enhanced encounters with NPCs. The game now features many more races, and players can encounter NPCs out in the world. NPCs also act more dynamic. They move around and gesture in a similar way to player characters.
Players can interact more with creatures including taming and mounting them. Players can use creatures in farming and harvest them for milk and eggs. They can then combine those ingredients with harvested plants to cook meals. Players can build bigger, better, and more industrial bases with power lines. They can add lights, sounds, and mining equipment to bases.
No Man's Sky's rocky launch created a strong foundation. Now, the game feels like a true space survival game. It looks better, has more to do, and allows players to play with their friends. For those who haven't popped in for a while, it's worth checking out again.
No Man's Sky is available now for Playstation 4, PC, and Xbox One.