Has there been a greater redemption arc than No Man’s Sky? The game was largely ridiculed at launch, following an outrageous hype cycle and a hollow launch, but Hello Games has knuckled down and deployed the title’s 19th major update this week. If you haven’t played it for a while, you may need our No Man’s Sky guide to get started, because it’s transformed beyond recognition.
And speaking with IGN, boss Sean Murray has revealed that his group remains very much committed to the release: “The team are always coming up with new things that they want to do with the game: new content and features and areas for improvement,” he beamed. “I'm amazed that the energy levels are as high now as they've ever been. We're not done yet by a long shot.”
The latest update, Sentinel, makes a ton of refinements to the sci-fi epic’s core combat loops, but also adds in entirely new systems – like the ability to recruit drones and mechs to fight alongside you. It’s this mixture of refinements and major new features that are key to each update, and Murray likened the team’s approach to a painting.
“I like to think that No Man's Sky is such a large game that we have to paint in broad brush strokes, and then each update comes along and fills in some finer detail but also paints more new broad strokes.” The analogy being that the developer is always incorporating more and more major features, then refining the smaller details as it goes.
The truly impressive thing about all this is that, if you bought the title at launch several years ago, you’ll still get access to all of its improvements free of charge. Hello Games is treating the game like a service, but it’s not flogging extortionate microtransactions – at least, not right now anyway. Excitingly, it’s also working on another project alongside No Man’s Sky, although it’s keeping that close to its chest for the time being.