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All Articles: No Man’s Sky
In a very real way, the game industry wiped the slate clean in 2016.
After nearly a decade of development difficulties, Square Enix unleashed Final Fantasy XV on the world. Fumito Ueda and Sony Japan Studio overcame similar troubles to finally release The Last Guardian. Id Software shook off the past and was reborn after the launch of the fourth game in the Doom franchise. Blizzard closed the book on their failed “Titan Project” with the release of Overwatch. Naughty Dog said goodbye to Nathan Drake, but gamers said hello to altered realities that were both “augmented” and “virtual.” Nintendo found new kingdoms to conquer with Super Mario Run. And the launch of No Man’s Sky taught us that while the hype machine sometimes fails to deliver, the chance for a brighter tomorrow is always there.
But before we venture off into that great unknown, let’s look back at some of gaming’s highlights from 2016. (more…)
A day after revealing the winners of the first-ever Steam Awards, Valve is back with a breakdown of the “Top 100 Best Sellers of 2016” on Steam.
The list is unnumbered, but Valve has broken it down into four tiers… Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Based on total gross revenue (not copies sold) for 2016, the games in the Platinum tier include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Civilization VI, XCOM 2, Total War: Warhammer, Fallout 4, Grand Theft Auto V, Tom Clancy’s The Division, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, No Man’s Sky, Dark Souls III, Rocket League, and DOTA 2.
Most of 2016’s biggest releases made the cut, including Doom (Gold), Watch Dogs 2 (Silver), Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Silver), and Dishonored 2 (Bronze).
The complete list can be found at Valve’s SteamPowered.com storefront.
As promised, Hello Games has released the “Foundation Update” (Version 1.1) for No Man’s Sky. The update, which will be the first of many free updates, includes all of the new base-building options the developer talked about on Friday… along with a few surprises.
In addition to building a homestead, Version 1.1 of No Man’s Sky will allow players to create a Hydroponic Lab within their base and grow different plants. These plants will provide “a steady supply of resources” and eventually lead to the discovery of new resource elements. And for players who want to venture away from their base, they’ll be able to make camp anywhere with Save Points and color-coded Waypoints.
However, if you’d prefer to always be on the move, players can purchase a Freighter to move large amounts of resources across the galaxy. Freighters can also be crewed by three other characters to research new technologies. And speaking of resources, the “Foundation Update” will also add new biome and star-specific resource types to the game, as well as a simplified user interface.
But the biggest change to No Man’s Sky is the addition of three new game modes, including a brutal (and “much more challenging”) Survival Mode:
- Normal Mode is the original chilled exploration experience
- Creative Mode allows players to explore the universe without limits, and build a huge base
- Survival Mode really changes the game, creating a much more challenging endurance experience
A trailer offering more details about No Man’s Sky’s “Foundation Update” is embedded above, and the full Patch Notes can be found at the game’s official website.
It’s been a rough road for No Man’s Sky, and developer Hello Games, since its launch back in August. Many fans felt cheated by drastic departures the final game took from early teaser trailers and promises made by Director Sean Murray. Others, like our own Mike Ryan, were more forgiving, but he also found No Man’s Sky to be just average.
However, massive changes are coming to No Man’s Sky, beginning with a major update scheduled to launch this week. Known as the “Foundation Update,” Hello Games discussed how it’ll serve as a base for future updates to the game on their official website:
We’re calling it The Foundation Update, because we have added the foundations of base building, and also because this is putting in place a foundation for things to come.
The message from Hello Games only lightly brushed up against the public’s mostly negative reaction to No Man’s Sky, but the team also said they are listening to fan feedback and will use it to shape the game going forward:
In the nine weeks since then our small team has been hard at work on development, testing and certification for the Foundation Update. It won’t be our biggest update, but it is the start of something.
The discussion around No Man’s Sky since release has been intense and dramatic. We have been quiet, but we are listening and focusing on improving the game that our team loves and feels so passionately about. Positive or negative feedback, you have been heard and that will truly help to make this a better game for everyone.
And they closed their first communication in a very long time with a promise that bigger things are on the way: “This update will be the first small step in a longer journey.”
Before rendering our verdict on No Man’s Sky, we wanted to get as far away as possible from the controversy and chaos surrounding the game’s launch. This allowed us to experience all that the game offers, and gave us more time to contemplate the developer’s vision. I haven’t completed No Man’s Sky, and honestly, I haven’t even come close. When Hello Games announced that this game would be epic in size and scope, they certainly weren’t kidding
This review will hone in on all the traditional beats (story, controls, graphics, audio, etc), but No Man’s Sky is all about exploration and discovery, and it’s unlikely that anyone will duplicate my own personal experiences with the game. If you’ve played No Man’s Sky, your stories will certainly differ, but in the end, my goal is to give you a good idea of the vast, immeasurable universe that Hello Games created. (more…)
A trio of new releases stood atop the NPD Group’s recounting of the best-selling games of August 2016, but Madden NFL 17 unsurprisingly took the top spot.
EA’s juggernaut is almost always unstoppable during the calendar’s eighth month, but it was equally unsurprising to see No Man’s Sky and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided take up residence at #2 and #3, respectively.
NPD analyst Sam Naji told GamesIndustry.biz: “The release of strong new titles such as Madden NFL 17, No Man’s Sky and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided bolstered console software dollar sales by 8%.”
The remainder of this month’s best-sellers included the usual mix of big titles from 2015 and 2016, with some Grand Theft Auto V (#4) and Minecraft (#9) tossed in for flavor.
A full look at August 2016’s best-selling games can be found after the break. (more…)
Your Universe Awaits…
No Man’s Sky was first announced by Hello Games, a small team headquartered in England, way back in 2013. Ever since then, fans have been fervently awaiting the chance to explore the universe in the procedurally-generated space sim. Well, it’s finally time for lift-off as Hello Games added No Man’s Sky to the PlayStation Store yesterday.
Also available to download for the PS4 this week is Indigo Prophecy, one of the first games from Quantic Dreams. Originally released for the PS2 in 2005, the PS4 re-release includes 1080p visuals and full Trophy support. And speaking of PS4 re-releases, Activision and High Moon Studios have brought 2012’s Transformers: Fall of Cybertron to the PS4. This new-generation re-release also includes improved visuals and all three downloadable expansions.
Finally, Sony’s “PSN Play” pick this week is Brutal, a “3D re-imagining of the classic 2D ASCII dungeon crawler.”
As always, more information on all of these titles (and a few other new releases) can be found after the break. And a complete rundown of this week’s new add-ons and discounts is available at the PlayStation Blog. (more…)
Have you heard that several stores broke the street date for No Man’s Sky, and that a small handful of lucky gamers are playing the highly-anticipated space exploration sim right now? It’s true, but once No Man’s Sky officially launches on August 9, we’ll all be playing a very different game…
In a lengthy post on the game’s official website, Director Sean Murray has detailed the many changes that will be applied to the game as part of a “Day One” patch. Some of these changes include the creation of three distinct “Paths” where “early choices have significant impact on what you see later in the game,” advanced combat techniques, multiple endings, and much, much more:
- 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.
- Combat – Auto Aim and weapon aim has been completely rewritten to feel more gentle in general, but stickier when you need it. Sentinels now alert each other, if they haven’t been dealt with quickly. Quad and Walker AI is now much more challenging, even I struggle with them without a powered up weapon.
- Space Combat – advanced techniques have been introduced, like brake drifting and critical hits. Bounty missions and larger battles now occur. Pirate frequency has been increased, as well as difficulty depending on your cargo.
- Writing – The Atlas path has been rewritten by James Swallow (writer on Deus Ex) and me. 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.
According to Murray, this is just the first of several planned updates to the game. So, after several years in development, No Man’s Sky might be ready for release, but it’s far from finished.