On Friday, Hello Games broke a three month silence to announce a new chunk of content it's calling the Foundation Update. The Foundation Update works on several levels. First, it's a foundation for what's to come next; secondly, it includes the basics of base-building, building being something that you often need a foundation for.
It makes sense because, despite how you might feel about No Man's Sky, the developers are clever folk. It's important to bear that in mind because in years to come, after we've forgotten how disastrously the game's launch went, we'll think about how well Hello Games has handled itself.
Thousands of angry and entitled players had worked themselves up into a frenzy of hype, some of it brought into being by Sony, some of it by the fans themselves and some by Murray representing himself poorly in interviews. Regardless of how it happened, there was now a suitably furious player-base, and it couldn't be appeased.
It's hard to describe this group of people as fans of No Man's Sky, but when Hello Games referred to the conversations surrounding the game being 'intense and dramatic
' in its first blog post since September 2nd
, it's showing a gift for the understatement. Players of the game have been screaming hatred into every corner of the internet about the game while trying to get companies to rewrite their refund policies, or trying to get the UK Advertising Standards Agency to investigate No Man's Sky over their use of bullshots i.e. screenshots that may not have been entirely representative of the finished product.
There's absolutely no way that Hello Games could have appeased them. Sean Murray could have embarked on a round-the-world trip personally taking disappointed gamers out for a beer and a good cry, and it still wouldn't have been enough. Instead, Hello Games did the only sane thing it could do in the face of the internet: They shut themselves off, they stopped engaging and they got to work.
It's hard not to respect that. The press, smelling blood, were circling Murray and Hello Games for comment and every commentator on the internet wanted their own personal response, but rather than use the energy engaging with some of the many angry voices demanding their time, they used that energy instead to try to polish out the many faults people were highlighting, and make the game tighter and more interesting.
I haven't played a lot of No Man's Sky since the update, limited to an evening watching my partner slowly build a base, but it seems like the devs have brought more of the game to fans for free. There's sure to be cries of 'it's not enough' ringing around the internet in the next week or so by people that've accidentally put themselves back on the hype train, but it seems like Hello Games is still trying to make good on its initial promise, and it's doing the right thing.