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Monday, August 8, 2016

‘No Man’s Sky’ has already gotten a day 1 patch that changes everything

Anticipation for No Man’s Sky has risen to a fever pitch. Although copies of the game started escaping into the wild last week, review codes were delayed while developer Hello Games finalized the massive day one patch, ensuring that reviewers would be assessing the same experience that fans will soon have. Given the scope of the changes and additions outlined by director Sean Murray in the update notes, we can understand why.

The first and perhaps most intriguing change listed is the addition of three “paths” to the game. The post doesn’t go into any further detail about what they are other than to say that “early choices have significant impact on what you see later in the game, and the overall experience.” The notes also allude to rewrites on “the Atlas path” by Deus Ex scribe James Swallow  — “early mission text has been rewritten to allow for multiple endings.” In addition to contributing to the overall objective of reaching the galactic center, these paths should help provide more structure and narrative personalization to the ambitiously open-ended experience.

Related: ‘No Man’s Sky’ has sprung a ton of leaks — here’s where to watch them

Economic loopholes that allowed one early player to reach the center of the galaxy in just about 30 hours have been closed, ensuring that players will have to work harder for it now. The developers felt that “people using these cheats were ruining the game for themselves, but people are weird and can’t stop themselves.” The choice of the word “cheats” is interesting, since the methods used didn’t appear to utilize any glitches or break the game’s formal logic, but it apparently went against the intended spirit of play enough that the developers didn’t want to leave the option available.

The update also made substantial changes to the procedural generation of the universe, “to create greater variety earlier.” That includes greater diversity in flora, fauna, and terrain, more types of spaceships, and more varied space stations. Rather than risking the possibility that the first few planets any player finds would be barren and boring, the universe should now generate in such a way that players will start making exciting discoveries soon after their journey begins.

In future updates, Murray promises “the ability to build bases and own giant space freighters.” There are plenty of other changes to the game’s systems, both technical and gameplay, which you can read about over on the developer’s website.

For most players, the patch will automatically download as part of the installation process, but those who obtained early copies over the weekend will need to restart in order to see the changes take effect.

No Man’s Sky arrives on PlayStation 4 and PC on Tuesday. Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage at launch and beyond.

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