2016, that’s four years ago as of the writing of this. In August of that year, No Man’s Sky was released. At first, the game received a metric ton of backlash because the creators over-promised a lot of things. However, it was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted Minecraft in space and on steroids. I got that, and more, on the day I got to play it.
I don’t write game reviews on Steam very often, but I had to for No Man’s Sky because I felt bad that it was getting so much backlash even though it was exactly what I wanted and more. This game is primarily where I learned to control my hype for big games.
Since August of 2016, the game has received about a dozen completely free updates that have added tons of new content. It has evolved from a fairly simple game into an excellent experience that can be played across PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. It even supports VR both on PC and on PlayStation. The best part is that the VR version is the same as the basic version so you can play in VR with your friend who still thinks VR is a fad.
No Man’s Sky has come a long way since that 2016 release. Hello Games, the developers of No Man’s Sky, just recently released a Next Generation update that brings the game to the new Xbox Series X|S and the PS5 with all new features and beauty that wasn’t in the game previously. This update even applied to PC, where it’s likely not as noticeable. Again, this update was completely free.
In total, No Man’s Sky has seen FIFTEEN completely free updates since 2016. Of course, they’re not evenly spread out in those four years. If they were, that would be almost four free updates per year since the game’s launch. That’s incredible for an indie game.
Starting off as a connected, single-player game, No Man’s Sky has since evolved into something short of a massively multiplayer online game. It now supports 32 players on all “new” platforms, though planets, star systems, and other discoveries can be found by other players. It’s not very likely you’ll run across anything people have discovered solely because there are more than 18 quintillion planets in the game to discover. Apparently, that’s a real number, I’m not so sure though. If that were to be written out, it’d be 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 which is an absolute unit of a number.
Another cool aspect of No Man’s Sky is how procedural the game is. Basically, everything in the game is procedurally generated to an extent. What makes that fact entertaining, is that even the people who made the game don’t know everything that’s in it. For example, there’s a tweet from the founder of the studio that showcases this very well.
As you can see in the above Tweet, that organization of caves was a surprise even to the creator of the game. That’s just really cool, your own creation throwing a surprise at you. It’s like a surprise party that you organized then forgot about.
Since 2016, No Man’s Sky has experienced one of the best “glow-ups” I have ever seen in gaming. I think more games should embrace free updates and stop spitting out DLC you need to pay $10-$30 for a few new items. It will just lead to more people playing and experiencing what’s been created. There is no officially revealed sales number, but on Steam, the estimations are anywhere from 2 million the whole way up to 10.4 million copies. While that’s a massive range, no matter how you look at it, the game is successful.
All in all, No Man’s Sky is a game that combines exploration, an open world, and survival in a fantastic way. I don’t think anything rivaling the pure exploration of this game will happen any time soon. It’s an incredible feat of technology that has aged incredibly well for an indie studio.