To better understand the significance of No One’s Sky “Next” update, we must go back to where it all started. Believe it or not, but there was once a time when the gaming masses were so intrigued by what No Man’s Sky had to offer. During many an E3 trailer, the good folks at Hello Games wowed us with such exotic settings and creatures that we can hardly dream of. We were promised a universe of endless possibilities. One where we can explore with our friends.

Imagine our collective disappoints when reviews of the game finally came out that fateful August of 2016. The game did not look nor ran the same way it did in the trailers. And to this day, some still will not pick up the game again because of a few statements by Sean Murray and Hello Games.

Quintillion’s like a lot

What we got was an empty universe devoid of all the mystery and awe first seen in trailers. The scale of the project may have been grand in scope, that much everyone agreed on. But once the dust settled, everyone knew the truth – the developers handed us an incomplete game. The game showed very little diversity. The amount of reused assets quickly turned off many to the idea of exploration. Worse still, players barely had anything to do outside of farming minerals and naming planets.

The developers tried to keep the public calm. When players started asking as to why they couldn’t meet other players. Hello Games responded by saying stuff like, “The likelihood of meeting other players is incredibly unlikely given the scale of the universe.” It was not until a couple of users took screenshots of the same location and somehow both users still haven’t bumped into every other did we learn that something wasn’t right. The public was furious. Soon after, Hello Games stopped answering questions. Activity in the game soon nose dived as player interest waned. According to Steam, more than 212,000 concurrent players were active at launch. In less than 2 months, it was seeing less than 1000 players per hour.

When Hello Games no longer responded to the community, many believed that they just took off with everyone’s money. There was little hope in saving the game. Several months passed, and still nothing from the developers. Then, out of nowhere, the unlikely happened – Hello Games made an announcement. They haven’t given up on the game and they have plans of supporting it for the long run. Then they announced the Foundation Update. The first in a long line of expansions and improvements for the game.

Foundation was the first time players were able to claim uninhabited bases. As well as the means of constructing their own base from scratch. With base building came the ability to create farms giving players another source of revenue. 2 new game modes, creative and survival, gave players more ways of playing the game. And with the introduction of freighters, players now have a means of mobile storage.

In March 2017, the Pathfinder Update found its way to the game. It brought land based vehicles into the game, online base sharing, weapon and ship specializations, a new game mode called Permadeath, and support for the PS4 pro. The best part about the update is probably the ability to create races for other players to enjoy.

Atlas Rises is the current patch everyone is running on at the time of the article’s publishing. It dropped around the time of its 1st year anniversary. Being one of the biggest updates so far, it brought changes to the main story by adding hours of story content. A new story mission was added allowing players to do missions for faction favors. The update allowed for joint exploration to be possible. While not a true implementation of multiplayer, it allowed up to 16 players to communicate and explore together. The host interacts with glowing orbs representing the locations of the other players.

Nowadays, the game is lingering at around the 1,500 player mark for steam. The community is reaping the full benefits of all the expansions so far. With each new patch, players new and old are finding new reasons to consider playing the game. Much to the delight of long time players who have endured everything since the beginning.

Next is the upcoming update set to release this July 24th. Expecting to be the biggest update, It promises to offer a full multiplayer experience. According to the developers, players will be able to explore the universe with a small group of friends, or bump into random travelers. Players can help each other stay alive, or prey on others to survive. All these social features will greatly impact the game in ways no other patch has done so far. And with its launch on the X Box One on the same day, expect an increase of travelers in the universe.

It seems everything has come full circle for the game. We are about to enter a new golden age of No Man’s Sky, if the community is to be believed. Hopes are high that Next might the one that finally brings the game into the light. If there was ever a time to jump into the game, it must be now. The best is yet to come, and I do believe that the team at Hello Games still have many more tricks up their sleeves for future content.