How Hello Games Could Get a Second Chance for No Mans Sky

Escape From the Abyss

There have only been a few times in a video game that have left me in pure, unimaginable awe. The first time I played Hello Games’ sci-fi space adventure, No Man’s Sky, was one of them. Racing upwards into the sky, towards a star in the far distance, not quite understanding yet that eventually, I could reach it.

No Man’s Sky, an infinite space sandbox by indie studio Hello Games, was announced at the 2013 VGX Awardsand immediately attracted a lot of attention. Sony Interactive Entertainment, being the most interested in the title, went on to fund Hello Games for promotion and publication. In 2014, No Man’s Sky became the first independently developed video game to be demonstrated on the main Sony stage at E3.

The promise of an infinite universe to explore is a big one. Founder of Hello Games, Sean Murray, went even further by saying that it was “One everyone can share.” While the first statement may be true, the second was unfortunately not. The exclusion of multiplayer at launch was just a pebble in the sea of events that transformed one of the most ambitious video game concepts in years into a record-breaking flop. Shortly after release in 2016 No Man’s Sky became the lowest rated games on Steam.  How could this happen to a game backed by one of the biggest video game publishers in the world?

Video games nowadays are not like they once were, with day one patches, downloadable content, updates, and early access. These are terms that we as gamers may not like but have accepted. If done correctly all of these things can be good for a game, and good for gamers. But in all aspects of life, communication is key. With an Xbox One release coming late 2018 No Man’s Sky has a chance to live up to its potential. This (in my opinion) is how Hello Games could use the same rope they hung themselves with to put themselves back on top.

A plethora of situations stood in the way of the release of No Man’s Sky including gameplay leaks, retailers releasing the game early, and a lawsuit filed by European media company, Sky, which is thought to have caused the initial release date to be delayed several months. The major problem arrived after launch though. The game was missing something. The game was missing everything. The only thing that remained was the infinite universe which, as big as it is, feels that much bigger with the lack of content and no one to share it with. The expectations outgrew the game itself. We all wanted so badly for this experience to be something that it couldn’t be yet. No Man’s Sky was still in its infancy and we expected it to run before it could even walk.

When the game releases later this year on the Xbox One it will have had received three major updates. Each update bringing a piece of what should have been available before a full launch. If Hello Games would have held onto the game another year, and added these updates, then they would be in a completely different position at the moment. We may never know why the game was rushed out. I suspect the deal with Sony had a lot to do with it. Whatever the case may be the important thing is that Xbox One players will never experience the original release version of this game. They are receiving a much more polished, content heavy, and complete game.

As I stated above, it’s 2018. Video games are in a unique situation now with the addition of patches, DLC, and the ability to completely re-invent your game post-launch. Take Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege for example. Most would say that this game was a flop at launch, but since has added tons of content post-launch to turn it into a giant in competitive gaming with a huge player base. Fortnite by Epic Games was originally a wave based tower defense game that has now grown to be the most played battle royal game on the market. Some post-launch content is expected in modern gaming. That’s what will save No Man’s Sky, and Hello Games has already started.

Foundation Update

The first update to be released gave players the ability to build their own base. Players can use bases to grow exotic plants, as a storage location, or as a safe haven from storms and enemies. It is also now possible to buy a space freighter, a large ship that can act as a base that travels around the galaxy with you. There are now three game modes to choose from as well; Normal mode, Creative mode, and Survival mode. With a list of other improvements and features, the Foundation Update proved to be a step in the right direction.

This was Hello Games first reassurance that the content we wanted was coming, if very late.

To see all update notes click here.

Pathfinder Update

The second update for the game included land vehicles, a deeper customization, and our first glimpse of the possibility of multiplayer. Players can now share bases or find a base that belongs to someone else. While this is far from a true multiplayer, it is the closest we have seen for No Man’s Sky. With an impressive list of bug fixes and UI improvements, the Pathfinder Update was another large piece of the puzzle.

To see all update notes click here.

Atlas Rises Update

Not only was No Man’s Sky lacking physical, tangible content on release, it was missing narrative. That’s where the Atlas Rises Update put its focus. With a completely overhauled central storyline, procedural mission system, trade improvements, system economies, and yet another step towards multiplayer in the form of joint exploration, the update added plenty.

While you can explore with other players, it is in the form of a floating orb in place of an actual character. Regardless, No Man’s Sky is starting to look like the game we wanted.

To see all update notes click here.

NEXT

Hello Games is calling this the biggest update that the game has received yet, and that is a huge promise, (kind of like the original promise before release), on which they absolutely need to deliver. This is their second chance, their opportunity to show people one more time what No Man’s Sky has to offer. With a new player base coming in the form of the Xbox One release all eyes are once again on Hello Games and their insanely ambitious venture into an infinite universe. Will things go smoother this time around? I think so. Will the promises be as empty as the planets in the initial release? I hope not. Will No Man’s Sky finally be the game it has the potential to be? It will all depend on what happens NEXT.

To follow No Mans Sky and see all the update notes click here.

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Jonathon Rader

Jonathon is a writer and content creator from West Virginia. He is a super fan of all things video games. When he's not playing games, he is most likely talking about them.

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