Released in 2016, No Man’s Sky was widely seen as a disappointment following years of big promises from the developers. This space exploration sim felt remarkably stagnant for a supposedly endless galaxy, though Hello Games worked to add features and refine the experience after launch. Furor (and interest) has died down since then, but the developers are still working on No Man’s Sky. The free “Next” expansion is rolling out soon, adding myriad features that should have been included in the initial game.
At launch, Hello Games claimed the galaxy of No Man’s Sky was simply too large for true multiplayer. While you shared the same universe with other players, there was supposedly no chance of running into them. We learned that was incorrect almost immediately. Players promptly found themselves coming across the same planets, and no one could see each other even when they were there.
The Next update finally adds true multiplayer. You can team up with friends or random travelers to explore the universe, take on space combat missions, or race across the surface of an alien world. Bases you build as a team will also be available to all members of your party. Speaking of bases, the Next update adds hundreds of new components and increases the maximum size of structures. You can also build those bases anyplace on a planet instead of just in predefined areas.
There will also be a new fleet-building mechanic, but it’s not clear how that will work. Apparently, players will be able to build a fleet of freighters and send them on missions via the command bridge on their own ship. This will tie in with multiplayer features, so you can invite friends into your fleet. Be careful, though. Other players can also act like pirates to attack and steal your resources.
This update does look compelling, but so did the original trailers. The game we got in 2016 felt unfinished. Maybe now it’ll finally be the kind of experience we hoped for back then. No Man’s Sky Next launches on July 24 for PC and PS4 as a free update. The game will also come to Xbox One for the first time on the same day.