It can't be denied that this has been a rollercoaster year for the team at #HelloGames. The anticipation ahead of the release of its long-awaited title No Man's Sky was unlike anything I had seen in a very long time. Upon the game's August premiere, social media was awash with statements about how revolutionary it was and how it was unlike anything we had seen before. But after a couple of weeks, the reviews turned sour. The gameplay was seen as lackluster and having no direction, with people moaning about the repetitiveness of the gameplay.
With yesterday's update, Hello Games has promised a revolutionary change to the way you play #NoMansSky. Known as the Foundation Update patch, or version 1.1, it promises to introduce many new features and hopefully attract players back to the ever-expanding universe within the game.
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Lost In Space
Hello Games has described how this will be the first of many patches to the growing world. No Man's Sky's universe is already very large and diverse, but some players have complained about the lack of direction, calling it overly repetitive. I feel the same way as the detractors. I bought the game, full of confidence that I'd be playing one of the most creative action-adventure survival games of all time, but was ultimately let down.
With Foundation Update, three new game modes have been added to create new challenges to the player. These include:
- Normal Mode: Essentially the original game that everyone is used to playing.
- Creative Mode: The player is able to explore the universe without being tied to the main storyline, and they can build much larger bases.
- Survival Mode: The original game, but a much more challenging experience with increased endurance.
The main addition that is likely to draw players back is the new build-a-base feature. This was one of the most admired assets from the critically acclaimed #Fallout4, and adding this to No Man's Sky may be something the game was looking for all along.
The bases can be built from acquiring resources across the various worlds you discover through playing the game. Some of the features from the new base gameplay include: recruiting alien life-forms to help research new technology; acquiring new weapons from hirable life-forms; teleportation methods to travel from your base to local space stations; storage containers to collect resources; new locations to move your home base to.
Too Little Too Late?
No Man's Sky launched with what many believed to be a number of missing features. As a result, the ensuing criticism damaged the reputation of the game and the developers. Accepted the negative reaction, Sean Murray has promised that the improvements to the general gameplay will be coming.
The new features Murray has promised include:
- Fixed technology becoming instantly fully charged when repaired
- Fixed ship appearing on incorrect pad in space station after loading
- Added interactible objects that required certain tech to collect
- Added shootable objects that require certain tech to mine
- Rebalanced resource availability and technology charge requirements
- Fixed initial game flow — where traveling to space too quickly after visiting the monolith could prevent the first atlas station notification appearing
- Prevented player being prompted to scan for buildings before leaving the system after visiting the monolith
- Prevented laser and melee attacks while in space from attempting to edit terrain
- Improved calculation of resources received when mining terrain
- Renamed Signal Scanners to Signal Boosters
- Signal booster objects updated to search for playable bases, suit upgrade pods, and mineable resources
- Removed signal booster from being distributed on terrain, as player can now build them
- Improved accuracy of environment detection, fixing cases where it rained inside caves
- Fixed galactic waypoints not loading correctly across saves
- Removed atlas pass v1 requirement from doors in stations
- Suit upgrade pods are no longer spawned in stations
- Suit upgrade pods can now only be used once
- Fixed collision in anomaly that was causing issues when exiting larger ships
- Increased the number of different NPC character models generated per system
- Fixed the game always remaining in day time for players who began their save prior to patch 1.03
- Fixed a potential crash in foliage instance renderer
Some of the basic elements of the game have also been given a touch-up. Items such as the the arrow indicators have been improved so that the user has a better understanding of their location and health while in space. There is also a change to the symbols used for primary objectives and key area locations, so the user can differentiate between the two much more simply.
The UI has also been given an overhaul. The new features include:
- Fixed health bars not appearing on some targets
- Added hazard and life support drain indicators
- Fixed mission messages not appearing in a timely fashion
- Beacons now notify the player that they will save the game
- Fixed crash when creature IK animations were updated under certain conditions on the discovery screen
- Improved navigation in discovery UI
- Massive speed improvements to browsing huge discovery lists
- Increased size of discovery storage
- Added option to load "Earliest" previous save in Options menu
- Fixed weapon naming
- Added icon to remind players of the reload button when weapon is empty
- Multiple fixes for viewing discoveries
The changes to the element of space are as follows:
- Improved asteroids to allow much denser fields
- Improved explosion effects
- Fixed scale of moons on the space map
- Added freighter groups to the space map
- Changed distribution of resources in asteroids
- AI ships will now clear asteroids in their path
- Planets are now scannable from space to see their resources
These features and many more will hopefully breathe new life into No Man's Sky and create an environment where players will feel welcomed and want to explore the universe. The potential was there with the original release, but the execution was somewhat off. With these improvements, I really hope this game can finally find its footing and be the success it initially promised it would be.
Do you think the Foundation Update will save No Man's Sky? Sound off in the comments section below.