On March 8, 2017, Hello Games released a new update for their sci-fi exploration game No Man’s Sky. According to the No Man’s Sky website, the Path Finder update promised to add several new features, including new vehicles, improved visuals, and a permadeath mode.
When No Man’s Sky was first released in August of 2016, it caused lots of excitement within the gaming community, especially for those who have also dreamed about exploring the stars. The “about” section on the No Man’s Sky website says that “No Man’s Sky is a game about exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated galaxy.” It goes on to describe how players can experience the game however they choose. They must gather resources to survive, and can trade those resources for better equipment and supplies.
On the surface, No Man’s Sky seemed like the perfect game for those with a love for space and freedom. However, No Man’s Sky did not appear to live up to the hype it had produced. Many players were disappointed that the game they had built up in their minds was not the game that they received. Still others felt that they had been lied to about No Man’s Sky. They pointed out that the trailer for the game showed lush landscapes filled with alien creatures and quick, seamless transitions from planet to space and back to planet, while the actual gameplay was very different. Few planets in the game were filled with such abundant wildlife or exciting ruins, as the trailers promised. On-planet flight was not as smooth as players were expecting either, and many were upset about the lack of multi-player options. Other players felt that the endless resource mining and trading and the lack of clear goal made the game feel tedious.
Open world games are extremely popular among the gaming community. Many players enjoy the freedom that such games provide: the ability to choose their own paths and explore every nook and cranny of the fictional worlds that the games take place in. Open world games often have a main storyline, as well as several side stories, which many players enjoy. While several players do enjoy disregarding a game’s main quest line in favor of the many side-quests, or going their own way and ignoring all quests, there are many players who enjoy having some form of structure and story. Regardless of play style, people have certain expectations when it comes to games.
None of this seems to have dampened the spirits of Hello Games as they are still working hard to make No Man’s Sky the best game it can be. In December of 2016, Hello Games made a blog post saying that they were hiring writers, QA testers, and programmers to work on No Man’s Sky. Since the Path Finder update, Hello Games has released three patches to fix certain bugs and to polish some rough edges. The most recent of these patches was released on March 27, 2017. This seems to say that Hello Games are not yet finished with No Man’s Sky. At the end of the Path Finder update post, they said that the update “shows the path forward,” suggesting that they have, at least a few and possibly many more, ideas for the future of the game.
Whether No Man’s Sky‘s unpopularity stems from impossibly high expectations, or whether the game that was advertised is not the one that people received, there is reason to hope. Perhaps one day soon, No Man’s Sky will become the game that people expected it to be at the release, or perhaps people will come to enjoy it as it is, something different than expected, but still enjoyable.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]