Feature Article

Biggest Changes In No Man's Sky Next Update: Xenomorphs, Space Pirates, Fleet Building, And More

Time to team up for some true multiplayer in No Man's Sky.

Hello Games has launched a new update for No Man's Sky, called Next. The free update makes massive overhauls to the game by adding multiplayer, character customization, command freighters, and visual upgrades. Next is the fourth major update to No Man's Sky, following Foundation, Pathfinder, and Atlas Rises. However, it's perhaps the most substantial of them all, and we're continuing to find more and more as we spend more time with it.

No Man's Sky originally launched on PS4 and PC in August 2016, and was harshly criticized for a perceived lack of content. Although multiple updates have since expanded the number of activities that players can do, Sony management admits the PR strategy "wasn't great" and No Man Sky designer Sean Murray acknowledged that he made "mistakes."

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Now Playing: The Biggest Changes In No Man's Sky Next Update

Despite the initial backlash at launch, No Man's Sky's updates have slowly earned the game a growing playerbase. "One day I hope to reach a point where I feel No Man's Sky is 'finished,' but luckily there's still so much more we want to do," Murray said.

The major changes in No Man's Sky Next are outlined below, but you can read the full patch notes and bug fixes on No Man's Sky's blog. Though it's not in the patch notes, Murray tweeted out that Next also allows players to command their in-game avatar to sit down--a feature that players have been asking for. Perhaps a few more playful secrets are hidden within the game's newest update. We do know that a new patch is already on the way to fix problems that have emerged, as are weekly updates to keep things fresh. We'll keep you updated as we learn more.

Multiplayer And Character Customization

Multiplayer is the largest change to No Man's Sky. Though it was never confirmed whether multiplayer would be included prior to launch, many players wished to explore the galaxy with their friends however they wanted. Next adds a lot of the mechanics those players wanted, as well as a few more.

You can now join up with random strangers, or team up with a small contingent of friends to construct colonies of small shelters, race exocraft, or engage in space battles against other players. You'll be able to team up with friends right from the start, as the multiplayer extends to No Man's Sky's story and tutorial missions.

To help differentiate between avatars, Next adds character customization so that everyone can personalize their in-game appearance. You'll be able to switch up your race and change your outfits too. Depending on the species of your character, you'll even be able to change your hairstyle. Next allows players to be a Gek, Vy’keen, Korvax, Traveller, or Anomaly.

Not every player you meet is a friendly face, so when you run into another player in the midst of exploring the stars, it's best to be cautious. Although a stranger could be a harmless passerby or a future ally, Next allows players to prey on others to survive. A collection of ships approaching on the horizon might be a crew of players acting as space pirates who rely on the stolen loot of others.

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Building And Crafting

You'll be able to invite your friends onto your very own command freighter to tackle challenging multiplayer missions. If you're still having trouble, you'll be able to build and upgrade a whole fleet of frigates, which you can then customize to specialize in combat, exploration, trade, industry, or support.

You can use what you've found to build bases, which can now be built anywhere on any planet. You'll even be able to build on top of mountains and beneath the sea. And if you don't like how the terrain is affecting the shape of your base, the improved terrain manipulator allows players to sculpt the planet's surface to their needs. The manipulator can be used to excavate ancient treasures too, which can be sold in the new Space Station Marketplace.

There are hundreds of new base parts that allow you to build bases that are larger and more complex so you can construct your perfect hideout. Next also lets players own multiple bases and place teleporters anywhere so travel goes much faster.

The resources used to customize your fleet and bases, as well as craft your gear and equipment, have all been reworked and rebalanced. Many of the resources you remember from the original No Man's Sky have received new names and been given completely different uses. Planetary resources have been expanded, and a planet's biome, weather, and classification have a much larger effect on what type of materials you'll find there.

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To help you excavate the larger amounts of materials you'll discover, the deployable tech used in resource collection can now be easily picked up and carried in your inventory. The improved analysis visor makes it easier to locate terrain resources as well. You can also quickly find your bearings while exploring, thanks to visible latitude and longitude coordinates and the ability to tag points of interest with a marker.


The opening section of No Man's Sky has been updated with new story elements, as well as a tutorial that teaches you advanced gameplay features. Mission chains help get players started with exploring planets and starting bases.

Once past the tutorial, new types of missions are available to complete. Exploring is still at the core of No Man's Sky, but new photography, feeding, freighter attack and defense, archaeology, and hunting missions expand the amount of activities that players can do. Players won't be getting all of their objectives from the same NPC either, as a diverse assortment of random NPCs on different stations offer missions.

It Basically Has The Xenomorph From Alien

The update introduces a variety of new enemies to deal with, but perhaps the most terrifying and interesting of the bunch are what it refers to as Biological Horrors. As recounted on Twitter by Xalavier Nelson Jr., this essentially amounts to the Xenomorph from the Alien franchise. It sounds terrifying--and awesome, provided you don't mind dying.

There Are Some Drab Planets Out There

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While the diversity of the geography you've encountered has changed, and there are many colorful, beautiful planets to explore, the update also adds some that are a bit different--but nonetheless striking. In our time with the update, we came across a planet that was largely devoid of color, almost to the point of being monochrome. You can take a peek at it above.

Patch Notes

Hello Games has released detailed patch notes for Next that outline everything that's changed, including the extreme minutia. Beyond all of the major features above you can see adjustments to controls (like the ability to manually holster the Multi-Tool), the overhaul to space station interiors, bug fixes, and much more.

Quality-of-Life Improvements

While something like multiplayer is obviously the big draw of this update, there are smaller but still very appreciated changes and additions that players have been coming across. Case in point: one of the best is a tweak to pulse jumps, which previously would send your ship moving in a straight line. Now, you can use it to follow the curve of the planet you're in the atmosphere of, more or less allowing you to orbit the planet and more easily relocate to a different spot.

Galactic Atlas

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Just prior to the Next update going live, Hello Games launched a new website called the Galactic Atlas. This is essentially a guide to a specific area of the game--the Euclid Galaxy--that Hello seeded but will leave in the hands of players to explore and grow. From the site, you can track the progress of the galaxy, highlight points of interest, and join hubs or factions.

New Visuals

The visuals to No Man's Sky have also gotten an overhaul. Terrain generates faster and ground, water, and cloud textures have been upgraded. Ships, NPCs, and buildings have more detail too. No Man's Sky is also now fully playable in both first- and third-person, whether you're walking on the surface of a planet or soaring amongst the stars.

Draw distance has been improved so planets appear more dense and a new colour palette paints the forests, oceans, and plains of each world with added vibrancy. The hazardous storms that can spell the doom of smaller aircraft use new biome-specific particle effects to look more dangerous than ever before.

Fauna And Flora

The creatures you'll discover on your travels will now act more enthusiastically towards you if you feed them, letting you herd them together. The creatures' AI has also been revamped so they act more intelligently, responding to players they recognize as friendly and fleeing as a group from a perceived danger. Not all of the new animals and plantlife are friendly, however. Keep on the lookout for new hazardous species, as they will kill you if you're not careful.

Release Date/Time

No Man's Sky is available on PS4, PC, and Xbox One. Next is live on all platforms.

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Jordan Ramée

Jordan Ramée has been covering video games and anime since 2016, cultivating a skill set that allows him to transform his unhealthy obsessions into what he would argue is compelling content (we won't tell him if you don't). Do not let him know that you're playing Hollow Knight--he will take that as a sign that you wish to talk about the lore for the next five hours.

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