Today was a red-letter day for space exploration and crafting game No Man’s Sky. The game released on Nintendo Switch, first of all, but that release was accompanied by a major overhaul to many of the game’s menus and systems. Developer Hello Games has dubbed it “No Man’s Sky 4.0,” or the “Waypoint” update.
Since its launch in 2016, No Man’s Sky has been through numerous changes and iterations, to the point that today’s Minecraft– or Valheim-esque experience barely resembles the ambient, aimless exploration of the original release. Today’s update isn’t as major as the one that turned an exploration game into a crafting one, but it’s probably the runner-up, in that it offers a sweeping array of quality-of-life improvements.
Many of these are related to either the game’s inventory system or its difficulty levels. Neither of these things is necessarily as flashy as new features like space whales, horror-like abandoned cruiser expeditions, trainable alien animals, or pilotable mechs, all of which (and more) were added in one update or another since launch. But anyone who has played No Man’s Sky at any point will know that the game can be a little rough around the edges in those two areas, so sweeping changes there may be welcome.
The game offers several difficulty modes, which you can now change on the fly during play. Further, you can granularly adjust individual elements of the difficulty to suit the game to your playstyle. Don’t like combat very much? Turn all the combat difficulty stuff down. Prefer a challenging interstellar economy to navigate? Leave that turned up. There’s also an entirely new game mode called Relaxed mode, which Hello Games says cuts significantly down on the grinding and information overload while keeping all the game’s systems intact.
Speaking of information overload, there’s a new menu that can greet returning players to remind them of key information relevant to where they are in the game, including progress on a variety of tasks. The goal here is to make the game a bit less overwhelming, especially if you’re returning after some time away. And inventory improvements abound, with more stackable items, more ways to sort the inventory, streamlined inventory UI, and much more.
There are a bunch of other changes, too, like improved visual effects for various space-y stuff in the game, crafting menu improvements, new survival challenges, accessibility options, a robust story logs view, and AMD FidelityFX 2.0 support.
All these changes rolled out alongside the game’s launch on the Nintendo Switch today, but they aren’t limited to the Switch by any means. Most of the features are available on all platforms.
Listing image by Hello Games