No Man’s Sky‘s upcoming update, NEXT, will be released on July 24th and incorporates ‘a full multiplayer experience’. In an uncharacteristic move, Hello Games’ Sean Murray appeared on the Inside Xbox stream yesterday evening to share the news. The short interview revolved primarily around the Xbox release of No Man’s Sky, while briefly covering NEXT’s features, in particular the introduction of consummate multiplayer. Yes, really.
Hello Games has been play testing multiplayer for the last 6 months and feel it brings a ‘very new experience’ to the game. Murray explained it throws the idea of No Man’s Sky as a deeply solitary experience on its head, citing a feel more in the vein of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek as he put it in the interview.
Friends and strangers can now embark on an epic journey exploring the universe, cross other groups, and either engage peacefully or ‘prey on them’ in PvP combat to ensure survival. Squads can build complex colonies across multiple planets, engage in dogfights together, and try their hand at exocraft racing on custom built racecourses.
Murray explained that multiplayer will be a fundamentally ‘fun’ experience that takes strides towards ‘the potential I think everyone could see in what we were making’. The hugely ambitious premise of No Man’s Sky, and unmanageable levels of hype before release, lead to vicious criticism and disparaging vitriol from the press and disgruntled fans alike to the point that Murray became somewhat of a pariah in the gaming sphere.
Ever since, Hello Games have systematically improved the game with base building, farming, exocrafts, over thirty additional hours of story, freighters, and a myriad quality of life improvements. Understandably, they have adopted ‘it is what we do and not what we say that matters’ as their motto. Murray reiterated this point in a post today on the No Man’s Sky website, saying ‘something I’ve learned is that I much prefer making games to talking about them. I avoid it as much as I can now’.
The NEXT update is free for existing owners of the game on PC and PS4, and forms part of the new Xbox version, which includes all three of the other major updates. A new cover for the game was also released. Multiplayer is highlighted by the presence of four figures. A gas giant and a ringed planet in the distance may be hinting at other unannounced features to be found in NEXT. More to come as July 24th approaches.