In conjunction with the release of No Man’s Sky NEXT, developer Hello Games has published extensive patch notes covering all the changes that made their way into the space sim’s biggest update yet.
From previews and the trickle of details revealed prior to release, we knew that multiplayer would feature heavily, as would a total revamp of base building, new freighter mechanics, character customization, and an overall visual refresh of planetary textures and flora. The patch notes, however, upturned a number of unexpected changes. These shed light on how much work Hello Games has put into NEXT and in essence the update is nothing short of a universe reset.
Of note, we have a rework of crafting and resources. The change aims for a streamlined and consistent approach. More and better seems to be the mantra here. Hello Games note a bigger library of resources to gather, a new refinement process, and deployable gathering tech. Resources will also vary much more depending on the specific characteristics of planets.
In keeping with the procedural-generation concept at the core of No Man’s Sky, the developer has expanded the pot luck jamboree of assets to exosuit, multi-tool, and star ship technology meaning stats can vary greatly between models.
Analysis visor scanning has also been refined to incorporate better resource discovery, point of interest tagging, and a brand new excavation mechanic whereby ancient treasures are hidden below the surface of planets.
Though doing the speculative rounds prior to release, AI has indeed been revamped with fauna acting more intelligently with herd-like behavior and new animations. Sentinels have received similar treatment and will respond in a variety of ways to player actions.
The opening hours of the game, in effect the tutorial, has been overhauled to introduce a better narrative loop and to allow players to learn the basic game play mechanics. Missions and factions offer more variety with ‘photography, feeding, freighter attack and defense, archaeology, and specialized hunting missions now available’.
Space station interiors are whole lot different with a vibrant marketplace feel with a host of NPCs to interact with as well as different layouts depending on the station visited.
The above is only scratching the surface of NEXT and for a closer look have a gander at the patch notes here. You’ll see many bug fixes, quality of life improvements, and small changes as well as bigger features.