Hello Games has ended almost three months of silence with a huge content update for No Man's Sky, one that addresses many of the issues players had with the divisive game.
In its first blog post since September 2, Hello Games described the conversation since the launch of No Man's Sky as "intense and dramatic." Indeed, that arguably underplays just how fraught and vitriolic it became, ultimately leading the UK's Advertising Standards Authority to start an investigation into the game's marketing.
Even Sony Interactive Entertainment, which played a pivotal role in elevating No Man's Sky's profile and instigating its physical retail release, identified with the backlash against the game. In September, Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida claimed to "understand some of the criticisms, especially [Hello Games' founder] Sean Murray, is getting, because he sounded like he was promising more features in the game from day one."
With this update, Hello Games has demonstrated that the 11 weeks of silence was spent "listening and focusing on improving the game that our team loves and feels so passionately about." The "Foundation Update" was released over the weekend, its name referring to both the base building feature it has added to the game, and the role its many additions will play in the future of No Man's Sky as a whole.
In addition to base building, the Foundation Update has also added a Creative Mode and a Survival Mode, new game systems that allow the farming of crops and resources, Freighter class ships that can transport those resources across vast distances, UI improvements, and much more besides. The full details of the update can be read here, and Hello Games has promised that "it won't be our biggest update, but it is the start of something."
Sadly, it's hard to imagine Hello Games being able to change the minds of its most vocal critics, but the Foundation Update certainly backs up Sean Murray's longstanding claim that No Man's Sky would evolve and change over time. Speaking through Twitter yesterday, Shahid Ahmad, who helped sign the deal with Hello Games when he worked at Sony, said that Murray knew the update plan as far back as 2013.
Ahmad was also highly critical of the "hateful mob" that attacked Murray and Hello Games after No Man's Sky's release, as well as those he perceived as having "turned their backs" during the worst of the fallout.
People jumping to conclusions about the character of a friend of mine and who threw him under the bus of their large audiences can fuck off.— Shahid Kamal Ahmad (@shahidkamal) November 27, 2016
And I think we all know exactly who I’m talking about. He told me about the update plan in 2013 and has stuck to his bargain.— Shahid Kamal Ahmad (@shahidkamal) November 27, 2016