Six years after its launch, No Man’s Sky has almost reached another milestone, version 4.0. This comes as Hello Games’ galactic sandbox prepares to expand to yet another platform, Nintendo Switch, on October 7th.
A Switch debut might not feel planet-shaking to long-time gamers on PC, but the 4.0 update will bring some changes to No Man’s Sky, no matter what platform you play on. And while this update may not look as dramatic as the addition of living ships or rideable sandworms or space whalesthere is still a lot.
“People are coming in, new players, and we kind of want to get our house in order,” Sean Murray said when we chatted on Zoom about the 4.0 update last week. One of the concerns for Hello Games was not just how the game would appear to new players on Switch but to returning players on PC who may have been away for a while, maybe even years.
“Something I see online sometimes, people will say, ‘I like the game, but it feels overwhelming to come back,'” Murray said. “And I want to [both new and returning players] say ‘This makes sense. This feels cohesive, and it doesn’t look like a bunch of disparate updates.’
“And so we dug into that a lot. If you come back to the game [in 4.0] there’s actually a log where you have a summary of the history so far,” Murray said. “We have an information portal that will collect everything you’ve done so far, everything you’ve unlocked, everything, and give. you more information about it so you can explore it.”
Longtime players who may feel like they’ve accomplished everything will find a new source of motivation in update 4.0. While No Man’s Sky doesn’t have level caps, it does have features like travel milestones that track everything from alien encounters to combat stats to time spent on planets with extreme weather. These milestones have been expanded in 4.0, giving players new targets to aim for. Inventory has been “streamlined” to make it easier for new players, but Murray said it’s “also increased massively,” so players who have unlocked the maximum amount of storage slots will be able to get even more.
And there’s a new game mode in 4.0, called “relax” mode, which will give players the sandbox experience of No Man’s Sky but with less focus on survival. Murray thinks it will be a good mode for new players to start with, but he also hopes it appeals to longtime players who have played normal or survival extensively but “just want to rest” while continuing to progress forward. Relaxed mode won’t have the challenge of normal or survival mode, but it won’t unlock everything like creative mode does.
“I don’t want to oversell it and say it’s a reimagining of the game or anything like that. But it’s a different balance of a survival sandbox,” Murray said. Players will be able to swap existing saves to the new mode, and swap back if they decide they don’t like it.
Survival mode itself, meanwhile, has been revisited to provide a greater challenge. “Over time, as you got better at the game and leveled up, it stopped being so difficult, so we revisited that as well and actually raised the survival element a lot higher.”
Perhaps most importantly, No Man’s Sky 4.0 will give players control over the balance of the game itself. “If you want to call [the challenge] a little bit differently, if you want to have a perm in relaxed game mode, or whatever it is, you can do those things,” Murray said. “You can change a lot of things to do with controls, a lot of things to do hard. , survival, creation, you know, you can balance those in your own way.”
No Man’s Sky’s 4.0 update will coincide with the game’s launch on Nintendo Switch, which takes place later this week on October 7th.