It would be easy to understand if you'd written off No Man's Sky as a title that flopped under the weight of its own hype and then stopped keeping tabs on the game. If you had, you probably didn't realize that Hello Games has been keeping the game alive via some major updates every few months.
But they have, and the latest update — which was advertised as a Path Finder patch — brought with it a sleeper hit in the form of Photo Mode. Thanks to this, players can now freely move the camera (which was normally limited to first-person view), change the time of day or the weather, add filters, and more.
Looking at some of the screenshots taken in Photo Mode, it's hard to deny it's added some major appeal to the game once thought dead-on-arrival.
Players Have Already Begun Taking Beautiful Photos Of The Virtual Universe
The official No Man's Sky team worked with a video-game photographer to take some truly stunning images with the new Photo Mode, but players are already giving those shots a run for their money.
If you hop on over to the No Man's Sky subreddit, more than half of the first page is screenshots players have taken in Photo Mode (at least at the time of this writing). Similarly, you'll find even more collections of photographs being posted to the game's Facebook page. Not only is there an impressive array of really good looking photos, there are also some funny ones mixed in like the ET homage below.
I fully admit that I haven't touched No Man's Sky in months, but the prospect of exploring all kinds of wacky, colorful planets — even the ones named after genitals — and taking pictures has me more than a little interested in coming back. It helps that the game has basically an endless supply of planets, but still. Combine the different planets with the different photo options and, well, you could keep the photographer in you busy for a very long time.
Of Course, Photo Mode Has Improved Other Games As Well
It wasn't too long ago that we were talking about how great Photo Mode is in a different game: #HorizonZeroDawn. In a similar fashion, Horizon: Zero Dawn's Photo Mode also allows you to move the camera freely, change the time of day, add filters, and so on. This, too, has resulted in some gorgeous shots and some pretty incredible juxtaposition.
For my part, Photo Mode is the exact sort of feature I love seeing in games. I've half-jokingly talked about how Photo Mode in a game will double the time it takes for me to complete it. Anytime I come across something cool, serene, or just plain silly, Photo Mode allows me to document and share that.
Maybe it's that latter part that makes Photo Mode so appealing. Sure, it's always fun to look back on pictures you've taken in games long-forgotten, but in the midst of a playthrough, sharing pictures of your journey can turn a single-player game from a solo experience to a joint one.
Moreover, it can inspire players to try something new, explore places they've yet to see, or even have a friendly competition to take the most awesome picture ever. Sure, that may be an overly sappy, far-too-deep look at something that lets you take a picture of a virtual world, but everyone has their own reasons for playing video games — for some, the advent of Photo Modes means one more reason added to that list.
How do you feel about more and more games adding a Photo Mode? Is it good, or is there something better that could be added?