No Man's Sky received mixed reviews at its 2016 launch, with some critics praising the technical achievements of the procedurally generated universe, while others considered the game-play lackluster and repetitive. However, the critical response was marred by the lack of several features that had been presumed to be in the game, particularly multiplayer capabilities, though Murray had tried to downplay expectations prior to release. The game was further criticized due to Hello Games' lack of communication in the months following the launch, creating a hostile backlash from some of its player base. Murray stated later that Hello Games had failed to control the exaggerated expectations of the game from the media and the larger-than-expected player count at launch, and since have taken an approach of remaining quiet about updates to No Man's Sky until they are nearly ready to ship, to avoid miscommunication. The promotion and marketing for No Man's Sky became a subject of debate, and the video game industry has used No Man's Sky as an example of missteps to avoid in marketing; as well as an example of how gaming companies can and should continue to develop their games after launch; with Sean Murray often invited to deliver talks and training to other games developers.
Since the game's initial release, Hello Games has continued to improve and expand No Man's Sky to achieve the vision of the experience they wanted to build. The game has received multiple major content updates that have introduced several previously missing features, such as multiplayer components, while adding new features like surface vehicles, base-building, space fleet management, cross-platform play, and virtual reality support, all of which have substantially improved its overall reception.
The first of these updates was the 'Foundation' update, coming on the 26th November, the date HelloGames wanted to release the game originally. This update reset the universe & changed almost everything about the game; turning it into a full-fledged game from what had essentially been a beta-test. This update alone made most players happy, though some still remained unimpressed. The internet was still vocal at this point, with many people who had never played any version of the game, taking to trash-talking it online.
With the first three updates, the game managed to tick off almost all of the features that had been listed as being 'promised' (many of which were never actually mentioned, but purely the hype-train and people's imaginations getting out of hand).
With the release of 'Atlas Rises', the online hate-train did a u-turn, with most people admitting that they could no longer fault the game & that everything that had been 'promised' was now in-game.
All iterations of the game starting with 'NEXT', have been adding features that have been thought up since the foundation update hit and were not mentioned by anyone pre-launch. HelloGames continued to develop this game; through 2016 - 2022, with more content already planned for throughout at least 2023 and 2024..
The founder of Hello Games, Sean Murray, had wanted to create a game that captured the sense of exploration and optimism of science fiction writings and art of the 1970s and 1980s with No Man's Sky. The game was developed over three years by a small team at Hello Games with promotional and publishing help from Sony Interactive Entertainment. The game was seen as an ambitious project for a small team by the gaming media, and Murray and Hello Games drew significant attention leading to its release.
Development of the game was repeatedly slowed down by circumstance, such as the HelloGames offices flooding twice. HelloGames were under immense pressure from Sony to complete & release the game. After one extension, Sony were not willing to provide a second, well needed three month extension. The game released in 9th August 2016; three months before the game was considered ready by HelloGames.
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DEVELOPMENT OF THE GAME
31st Mar 2021
23rd Sep 2020
🦝Adopt Pets, 🐹Raise Cute Babies, 🐣Breed Creatures, 🦑Trade Eggs, 🤖Customise your pets, 🐕🦺Train creatures to do chores, 🐬Talk to your pet, 🦋UI Improvements, 🦅Faster PS4 Load Time, 🧠Fauna Improvements, 🦕Ride giant creatures, Streamlining Of Some Gameplay Elements
17th Feb 2021
1st Dec 2020
Next Generation Console Upgrade, Visual & Loading Improvements For All Platforms
🪐 Billions of New Volcanic, Marsh & Infected Planets, 💖 UI Revamp, ☀️ Binary/Ternary Stars, 🗼 Colossal Archives, 🔥 Firestorms, 🌋 Volcanoes, ⚡ Lightning, 🌪️ Tornadoes, Meteors, Gravitational Anomalies, 🤖 NPCs on Planets, 🌥️ Improved Clouds, 🐞 New Fauna, 🌄 Multi-km Mountains / Dramatic Landscapes, 🐛 SANDWORMS, Interface Visual Overhaul, Richer Diversity, Increased Colour Variety, New Lighting Conditions, Anomalous Buildings, New Items, Portal Interference Lifted, Planetary NPC landings, Illegal Upgrades, Upgrade Multi-Tool, Insects, Wild Robots, Better Creature Behaviours
💀 Derelict Freighter Exploration, Procedurally Generated Interiors, Atmospheric Danger, Deadly Infestations, Procedural Stories, Improved Bloom Effects, Improved Lens Flare, New Lighting Effects, Salvage Freighter Technologies & Fleet Upgrades, Expandable Slots on player Freighters, Freighter Colour Customisation, Freighter Inventory Management - access freighter storage units directly in tabs, Freighter Teleporter, Improved Combat Mechanics, Space Encounter Guidance - Anomaly Detection Beacon, Unlockable Player Titles, New Nexus Missions
17th Jul 2020
10th Jun 2020
🚀 Crossplay between all platforms, Ability for all players across all platforms to play together, visiting each other's bases, seeing each other's discoveries, ambient multiplayer, missions together, etc, 🌌 Improvements to Lobbies and Groups, 🎈 Speech Accessibility Options, 🦾 VR Full body, 👾 Speech to Text, 🎮 Win 10 Store, 🎁 Free for Game Pass, 🛰 New Networking backend, Friends List & Friend Codes, Chat Options, Q.O.L, Story Based Weekend Missions
🤖 The Minotaur Mech Exocraft, 🏎️ Improved Exocraft, 🔌 Electrical Cloaking Device to hide wires & pipes, 😍 GFX Enhancements, 🏕️ Base Building QoL, 🪐 Summon Exocraft from Freighters,, 🥽 Detailed VR cockpit, 🛰️ Solar tech, 🧭 Exocraft scanners, 🥰 New Decals, 🎁 And much more, Advanced Jump Capabilities, Immersive Cockpit, Shielded from Storms & Weather Effects, able to collect items such as Storm Crystals, from inside Minotaur, New Exocraft Tech, such as Solar Panels to Recharge Engines, Improved Exocraft Scanning, Graphical Improvements
7th Apr 2020
🥚 Procedurally Generated Living Ships, 🍆 Organic Technologies, 🐔 Origin Story Mission - Starbirth Story Mission to get your first Living Ship, 🦑 Tentacle Cockpit, 🐙 Wide Range of Space Encounters during Pulse Drive, 😘 Space NPCS, 👍 Quality of Life Improvements
18th Feb 2020
28th Nov 2019
Starship Upgrades, Starship Salvaging, New Terrain Editing System, Protected Terrain Edits, Save Custom Outfits, Starship Interior Space Map, Significant Quality Of Life & Inventory Management Improvements, New Technology Blueprints, Triangular Base Building Parts, 297 Bug Fixes, Base Building Improvements including better Snapping, Storage Containers now have 20 slots instead of 5 & can be renamed, Personal Refiner, Own 3 Multi-Tools
🎵Melody Sequencer, ✉️Envelope editor, 🌊Waveform editor, 👨🚀BPM/Key/Volume/Attenuation, 🥁Drum machine, 🎹Arpeggiator, 🤖Synchroniser, 🔗Link ByteBeats, 🧠Use audio to control objects
VR Support, Vastly Expanded Multi-player, Anomaly & Nexus, Major Story Overhaul With Improved Tutorials, Ambient Multi-Player (run into random people), Updated Tech Trees, Featured Bases, New NPC Characters, Better NPC Interactions, Creature Riding, Cooking / Feeding / Milking System, Base Power System, Industrial Mining, Sitting Down!
14th Aug 2019
[Re-Release & VR]
22nd Nov 2018
29th Oct 2018
24th Jul 2018
Days Since Release
9th Aug 2016
26th Nov 2016
8th Mar 2017
11th Aug 2017
🧭 Galactic Expeditions, 🥇Mission Patches, 😎 New HUD + 4K UI, 🗺 Expedition Planner, 🥽 Visor Tech, 🏆 Cross-Save Rewards, 🛸 Sentinel Combat Enhancements - Scaling System, 🧠 Perf + Load Optimised, 😍 Cross-Platform Naming Merge, 📆 On-going Seasons, Twitch Drops, Expedition Milestone Patches, Rendezvous Points For All Players To Meet, Resource Target Sweeping, Visual Overhaul
2nd Jun 2021
😍Reflections, 🐰Fur, 🐛Flying Pets, 🔮Refractions, ☂Rain + Weather, 🚀More Stars, 👾Bytebeat Expansion, 😎Parallax Occlusion Mapping, 🌌New Warp Effects, 😭Improved Photo Mode, 🍾New Particle Effects, 🌈Improved Light Shafts, 💎DLSS, 🌼Increased Biome Detail
1st Sept 2021
🤯Planetary Settlements, 👀Become Town Overseer, 🏗250+ new Base Parts, 👨👦👦Town NPC Sim, 📺Proc Interiors, 🎮15x Saves, 🥂Disputes, 🐛Monstrous Pets, 🌈Visual Effects, 🤖Twitch Campaign, 🗺Season 3, 🌌Space Nebulae, 😎Base Building Overhaul, 🧞Settlement Sim, 🔫Grow + Defend Towns
🐛Sandworm Pets, 🤯New Sandworm Variants, 💀Expedition + Narrative, 🐙Fight Titan Worms, 🤢Feasting Casque Head, 🥚Collect Sandworm Eggs, 🤮Flesh Pyrotechnic, 🌈Richer VFX, 👻Ghastly Trail, 🎃New Expedition Rewards, 🐍Rideable Sandworms
20th Oct 2021
16th Feb 2022
13th Apr 2022
🏴☠️Outlaw Space Stations, 🤯Cloth Simulation, 🦜Outlaw Story, 🎰Smuggling, 🛰Solar Ship, 🔫Recruit Wingmen, 🛸Planetary Frigates, 🕹Improved Space Combat, 📜Forged Passports, 🙏More Ship Slots, ☠Bounty Missions, 👾Planetary Pirate Raids
25th May 2022
🐋Space Whales!, 🕹️New Expedition, 🥰Whalestalker Cloak, 🌍Community Goal, 🧠New Narrative, 💀Roguelike Mechanic, 🚀Organic Frigate Reward, 🔮Temporal Starship Trail
🚀Freighter Overhaul, 👷Vast Bases, 🛰️Improved Hangar, 🧑🚀NPC Crew, 🔭New Bridge, 👀External Windows, 🛸Teleporter, 🪨Huge Asteroids Fields, 🤯Exterior Walkways, 🌌Space Atmospherics, 🪐Polestar Expedition, 🐋Living Frigates, 👽Combat Missions
20th Jul 2022
🤯Nintendo Switch Version, 😎Relaxed Mode, ❤️Overhauled Inventories, 💉Revamped UI, 🪐Improved Missions, 💪Tons of QoL, 🧑🚀Level Cap Increase, 👩🔧Custom Game Mode, 🦑Info Portal, 🌠New Milestone System, 🦾Increased Challenge, 🧬Crafting Improved, 🛰️Commerce Shuttle, 👽New Collectibles
7th Oct 2022
22nd Feb 2023
🧑🚀Utopia Expedition, 🚀Speeder Ship, 🤩12 Ship Garage, 🥽PSVR2 Launch, 🦄Wonders Catalogue, 🎮Gyro Controls, 👣New Switch Content, 🤖Robot Pet, 🎈High End VR GFX, 😎Visor Helm, 🦾Left Hand Mode, 🥼Dynamic Res Scaling, 🎨HDR Revamp, 🎁Huge VR Overhaul
5th Apr 2023
💎Corrupted Worlds, 🎭Evolving Story, 🚀New Ship Class, 🎒Sentinel Jetpack, 👀Abandoned Camps, 🤖Robot Spiders, 😶🌫️Sentinel Cockpit, ⚔️Improved Combat, 🔫Sentinel Weaponry, 👻Stealth Enemies, ☠️Capital Ship Battles, ☎️New Nexus Mission, 🐌Custom Wonders, 🧙♂️VR Improvements
1st Jun 2023
❌▶️Cross Play, ❌💾Cross Save, 🤘Metal 3, 👟High Performance, 👨💻Apple Silicon and Intel, 🦄MetalFX Temporal & Spatial Upscaling, 👨💻Optimised Loading, 🕹️Full Controller Support, 💝7 years of updates
7th Jun 2023
👻Ship of AI Souls / 🔭New Expedition / 🦾Robotics! / 2️⃣Part 2 of 4 Part Arc / 🧬Community Goal / 🤖Assemble a Construct / 🧠Find it a brain / ✨Crimson Trail / ⛑️Wayfarer's Helm / 🎲ARG Clues
🚀Epic Freighter Battles / 🧙♂️Customisable Staff / 🦾Robotic Race / 🕶️Atlas MultiTool / 🔮Holo Displays / ✍️New Story / 🔫Weapon Trading / 👨🚀Voyagers Exp / 👾Space Combat Depth / 🚢Torpedo Frigates / 🧨Ship Trenches / 🎁Twitch Campaign / 🏴☠️Pirate Faction / 🦄PSVR2 & Switch Visuals
24th Aug 2023
22nd Nov 2023