No Man’s Sky 4.0 update: Why Sean Murray feels your passion

No Man's Sky 4.0 update: Why Sean Murray feels your passion
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In the six years since No Man’s Sky first launched, that’s ambitious space gameThe name of has evolved from being synonymous with hubris to a paragon of redemption through hard work and dedication. In 2022, “pulling a No Man’s Sky” means rescuing a troubled game after a botched start. No Man’s Sky update 4.0 arrives on October 7th, and creator Sean Murray tells us that while this patch doesn’t offer much fanfare, it’s packed full of quality of life improvements that make the space RPG even more enjoyable and easier to play – whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned space pioneer.

“They’re not big, you don’t take an amazing screenshot of these things,” says Murray. “But they’re really important to the people who play.”

The major version number updates for No Man’s Sky have come with launches on new platforms, and in 4.0 that platform is the Nintendo Switch. Players who have spent hundreds or even thousands of hours in No Man’s Sky – and Murray says people tend to play this game for a long time – will find that version 4.0 raises the level cap for ships and weapons and offers new reasons to venture into outer space and hunt for rare crafting materials.

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New players will find the inventory system easier to navigate, as Murray says it’s been overhauled to make it less overwhelming. The streamlining of the inventory system has also smoothed out some of the rough spots that have also irritated long-time players.

Hello Games has also revamped No Man’s Sky survival game Fashion.

“I always thought [survival mode] was at its best for the first few hours, then it became less challenging and didn’t feel too different to some of the other game modes,” Murray tells us. “I think we managed to make it feel a lot different.”

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While No Man’s Sky is coming to Switch this week, it has already made its handheld debut on the Steam deck, where it has surprised Murray and Hello Games with its popularity.

“It was consistent in and around the top five and top ten games played there,” says Murray. “We’re a well played game on PC across the board but especially on Steam Deck which is exciting.”

Development of the Switch version of No Man’s Sky has resulted in changes that make it more suitable for on-off handheld gaming, as Murray puts it, which will also benefit players on the Steam deck. For example, the save system in version 4.0 constantly saves your game, so you don’t have to worry about going back to your ship or physical save point every time you want to end a session.

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Again, this isn’t the kind of change that usually grabs the headlines, but it’s impactful nonetheless. As Murray points out, the 4.0 update is unique in that it has been preceded by a long line of content updates since 3.0, which have regularly added major new features to the space game. In May, the Leviathan update Space whales and a roguelike mode were added, and in July the persistence, which introduced instant warping, larger fleets, and Nexus missions. The 4.0 update revisits some of No Man’s Sky’s less spectacular – but certainly no less crucial – core systems.

While the story of No Man’s Sky is one long redemptive arc in the popular imagination, Murray and his team at Hello Games have sought to maintain a consistent balance between the joys and challenges of game development. He says he reads all feedback emailed to Hello Games Twitter — all of that still goes straight to his phone and smartwatch. While there’s too much of it to respond to individually, Murray hopes players will reflect their feedback in No Man’s Sky updates. The game itself is part of this ongoing conversation.

“That’s how I like to see it,” he says. “I hope that’s how it feels. Honestly, that’s believable and what people want to see from us. People don’t want to hear from me, they want to know what’s going on. They don’t want to know how I feel or whatever, and I’m not interested in that side of things anyway.”

Murray has learned a lot since launching No Man’s Sky and seems to have settled into a comfortable understanding of the sometimes uncomfortable relationship between developers, a game and its players.

“The simple truth for me is that making games is really difficult,” he says as we discuss the struggles CD Projekt Red had to conquer a No Man’s Sky with Cyberpunk 2077. “It’s a sign of how difficult it is Everyone finds it difficult. When you make a movie, you put it out and it’s good or bad, right? If you make a game and do it badly, that would be tantamount to making a movie, and then when it goes wrong, people get stuck in the movies. Or no one came to the cinema, everyone stood outside. The cinema is on fire.”

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Murray says he sympathizes with gamers who care deeply about the games they play because he considers himself that type of gamer.

“I don’t know how much other people care about games, do they? But for me, they’re something I’m very emotionally involved with,” he says, a broader smile on his face. “I’m sure for other people music is their thing, or books, or movies, or whatever it is. And I love all those things too. But the emotions I feel when I’m playing GTFO, or when I’m playing Diablo, or I’m in VR… that wins Apex Legendsor this loss hits like nothing else, you know?

No Man’s Sky 4.0 will be released on October 7th.

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