I once said to a friend,
“The only thing more valuable than the money in your pocket, is the time on your hands.”.
It’s been a long time of waiting since the last update. Many gave up, many of us took to being hate mongers of Hello Games. Some however, would light a candle every night in the spirit of hope. Whatever you did with your time since the launch of No Man’s Sky, whether you took to social media to express your anger, or perhaps advocated for the game in it’s vanilla form, or maybe you just played something else and put No Man’s Sky off your radar entirely, you can’t deny what has just taken place.
Red In The Face
I have never seen a game experience such a turbulent journey. The flood, the hype, the underwhelming launch, the non-meeting of two players and who could forget the twitter hack and the investigation. It was like Hello Games couldn’t catch a break. Having the project lead do all the PR for the game didn’t help matters. Sure, Sean is likeable enough, but from all the promoting and feature talk about No Man’s Sky versus what we got – I can’t imagine anyone not being let down. Apart from a completely reeling first few hours, the game started to wane into something much less engaging – boredom set in, as did disappointment. From there, things continued to get worse for Hello Games. The rhetoric from players who felt swindled, “They lied to us!” was chanted over and over. We want our money back!
You can’t blame people for the backlash. Things were said (not promised) but these days it may as well have been promised. Where was the deep crafting system? The game we all drooled over in the trailers? Lists were made of aspects of the game that were not delivered and then validated with clips of Sean saying they would be in the game. This brings me back to why the PR of No Man’s Sky was hurt by having the lead visionary on the campaign trail. Expectations were managed poorly. Some say the game was better suited for Steam’s Early Access. Perhaps, but No Man’s Sky was in bed with Sony from the beginning. What may have been a better approach was to position No Man’s Sky as an investment into a base game at full price with the promised of free – let me stop there to clear something up. What makes DLC isn’t a matter of paying for it, but a matter of downloading on demand. Hello Games is calling their additions to their game as “Updates”. Free of charge and a pledge to complete the vision of the game’s potential. Hello Games made this pledge in more than one statement since launch. Of positive and negative feedback, they were listening.
Silence is Golden
After a message from Hello Games posted about being developers and how they would rather do then say, the company went dark. speculation was abound and even went as far as accusing the group of taking the money and running. The silence was frustrating for fans. As the story goes, it got so bad that locals were spying on their studio in the UK for signs of life. The community wanted proof of life so badly someone hacked into their twitter and email, posing as Sean Murray, saying that No Man’s Sky was a “mistake”. Hello Games and Sean himself broke radio silence to refute the legitimacy of the communications but again they suffered another PR blow with the scandal. After the dust settled, Hello Games again went silent.
All About The Base
It was literally the 11th hour. In 58 minutes, the internet would erupt once again with hate that Hello Games had lied again. At least this is how I experienced it. I was awake at 11:02pm and asleep at 11:50. It was the end of the week following a post that had completely enveloped my Facebook feed. Hello Games had announced the Foundation Update and it would be dropping “this week”, which meant before 11:59 on Saturday. The language in the post was understandably cautious and humble in explaining that this would not be the largest update, but rather a foundation for things to come. A clear attempt to temper expectations. It spoke of a promise made previously about base building though there was nothing said about large freighter ownership – another feature promised in the same breath. It was clear that we were not to expect a full set of new features but then I gathered that there wouldn’t be such an announcement without some set of gameplay changes. Like I said, I was asleep by 11:50 with no sight of the update.
We at The Galactic Observer have been quiet as well. We also did not want to sensationalize the controversy surrounding the game as we thought other outlets were doing just fine in that department already. I woke and did the thing I always do as soon as my old eyes cleared from the haze of slumber – I checked my phone. It had happened! The community was in a frenzy. My fellow bloggers at TGO were up and on Slack sounding the ALL HANDS ON DECK. The update was bigger than any of us expected and yet, true to the modest announcement. We were treated to a new trailer and a complete replacement of the change log page. Base building? Yes! Owning giant freighters? Check! New game modes? BAM! Along with a slew of other changes and patch notes I still haven’t finished reading. It was overwhelming. They really were listening.
The Future of No Man’s Sky
The update has been out for a day and the healing power of promises made good is doing wonders for the community. I am seeing more positive feedback from the community than I have ever seen. That is what this game needs more than anything else – a real following. Not nay sayers. They are an indie group and the underdog in the big leagues. Mistakes were made. We all have made them, but if we all really want the most fun for our money then it would be best if we encourage the developers than bitch and complain. Especially now that Hello Games has shown us that they are committed to No Man’s Sky and it’s continued evolution.
So what about this update? There are still many things outstanding left on our list of original features still not addressed. Well, I will take this perspective – we may never know the full story of how and why No Man’s Sky launched as it did. The base building feature was never an original part of the feature set that was pitched to us in the beginning. However, consider that even if some of what we felt was missing from the original vision was realized now, how long would it be before we were salivating for what’s next? With crafting and the Foundation update, we have enough to keep us very busy while Hello Games works on what might be some very welcome appearances of what we once thought would be the experience we dreamed of not two years ago.
Some things we might want to see in the future:
- Galactic Faction Wars – Seems like the three species are getting along quite well as hired hands, but what happens when a dark new faction throws the galaxy into chaos and drives a wedge into the fragile alliances of the Gek, Korvax and VyKeen.
- A pass at the algorithms that govern life on planets to be more distinctive and less random. Creatures that interact with their environments and look as though they have adapted to exist there. Also would be amazing to add a zoological aspect to the game in capturing and keeping creatures that yield benefits other than killing them for resources.
- Giant Sand Worms
- Something about Portals – the mystery has brought some fascinating theories but the truth is still out there.
- A new mission from Nada and Polo. A new story, a new threat to the galaxy. The Atlas has gone berserk and created a new variation of Sentinels that are roaming peaceful planets and killing things onsite.
- Shipwright: build and customized your own ship inside your freighter. Hold multiple ships in that gigantic hanger. Lets be able to name our ships too.
- Something about the passage of galactic cores. Successive galaxies to have real change in what we find there. More than just a new name.
- Co-Op play (touchy subject I know but noticeably last on the list)
There are so many possibilities on the horizon for No Man’s Sky. As we fire up the engines of The Galactic Observer again, we hope to see you (for real this time) among the stars.