I picked up No Man’s Sky on release day in August but wouldn’t consider myself a super fan. I was intrigued by the premise, a sort of “Minecraft in space” but after a few days the shine wore off, to put it lightly. Fast-forward through three months of silence and developer Hello Games announced, and then released, the long awaited “Foundation Update.” Can it breathe new life into the game, or is it too little, too late?
The Foundation Update
No Man’s Sky 1.1, aka the “Foundation Update,” introduces a number of new features to the beleaguered game. The biggest one, and where the update’s name comes from, is the introduction of base-building as its own game mode. Instead of constantly pushing you to travel to new locals, Creative Mode encourages you to set down roots. In addition to creating buildings you can farm, recruit workers, and more.
Freighters are also being introduced to allow you to transfer large amounts of goods between locations. Although it’s unclear if this means you can maintain multiple bases or just make moving easier.
The Foundation Update adds a slew of gameplay and visual changes. These range from tweaks to the UI to changes to the generation algorithm to create more aesthetically pleasing planets. The latter is, in my opinion, a welcome change after finding way too many dead planets.
Is it too late?
To suggest that No Man’s Sky didn’t live up to the hype would be an understatement. It was arguably the most anticipated, and hyped, game of a slow summer release schedule. It was a media darling. But when it released, that all came crashing down.
Technically, it had issues with poor performance on even the most powerful computers. And this poor performance came despite what many considered to be average at best graphics.
And that was the least of Hello Games’ concerns. After years of Peter Molyneux-esque hyping, the game simply didn’t deliver. Players tried to find each other only to realize the game effectively had no multiplayer. Creatures were laughable compared to what was shown in E3 trailers. The much hyped story about the center of the galaxy was a total letdown. The number of broken promises have made for some great YouTube videos:
So will the Foundation Update bring players back? No Man’s Sky’s Steam population cratered within weeks of its launch but the allure of “Minecraft in space” could bring players back. Finding a beautiful planet to explore with a base, workers, and more does sound appealing.
The Foundation Update is also supposedly the first of a stream of free updates from Hello Games. We don’t know exactly what else is on tap, but could we see a steady build up of features, similar to Minecraft’s early days? Hopefully, but I’m skeptical that an update this late into the game’s lifespan after months of silence will bring back fans.