Five years in the making, the infinite digital space of sci-fi explorathon No Man's Sky is finally almost here. Launching tomorrow, the game that you'll find on your disc is but a mere shadow of the complete picture however, with the details of a huge day one patch just been revealed by Sean Murray, the top dog over at developer Hello Games.
Silencing those worried about the game's review embargo (reviews are going up at 4am tomorrow morning, just hours before launch), it seems Hello Games didn't want to give people an unfair impression of the finished article, knowing that a massive influx of new features was on the way. Those who install the patch before firing up the game for the first time will now be met with improved visuals, a better terrain generation system, UI and inventory improvements and a more diverse, interactive animal ecosystem. That's before a complete re-jig of the planetary placements of the entire universe are taken into account, plus the addition of multiple endings.
The update will come at a price for those that have picked up early copies of the game however. They'll need to delete their saves to take advantage of the new stuff, with a server wipe occurring before launch. In addition, the exploit that allowed one early gamer to speed through to the centre of the universe has been removed.
The update is so bloody huge that I won't post it all here but you'll be able to grab it all at the source. Here are just the highlights:
The Three Paths: There are now new, unique “paths” you can follow throughout the game. You must start the game on a fresh save, with the patch, as early choices have significant impact on what you see later in the game, and the overall experience.
Increased Diversity: Creatures are now more diverse in terms of ecology and densities on planets. Space, night time and day skies are now 4x more varied. A wider variety of ships appear per star system, and are available to purchase.
Inventory: Ship inventories now store 5 times more resources per slot. Suit inventories now store 2.5 times more per slot. This encourages exploration and gives freedom from the beginning. We're probably going to increase this even further in the next update, for people in the latter game phases, and will allow greater trading potential.
Graphical effects: Lighting and texture resolution have been improved. Shadow quality has doubled. Temporal AA didn't make it in time, but is close.
Writing: The Atlas path has been rewritten by James Swallow (writer on Deus Ex) and Murray. I think it speaks to the over-arching theme of player freedom more clearly now. Early mission text has been rewritten to allow for multiple endings.
We'll be getting an early copy of the game later today, and will post our early findings as soon as we've got to grips with the vastness of space. [No Man's Sky]