No Man’s Sky may be the most anticipated game of the year. All eyes are on this gigantic indie space game that promises endless discovery in a procedurally generated universe.
The hype has reached critical mass after its initial reveal in 2014. No Man’s Sky will finally released this week. August 9th on PlayStation 4 and August 12th on PC.
The days leading up to the launch have been fraught with controversy and drama. One super fan paid over $1,300 dollars to acquire a pre-release copy, and shared much of his videos and progress online. He claimed to reach the center of the Universe in about 30 hours, and people freaked out.
Developer Hello Games was upset about the leak, and encouraged people to stay the course.
If you are reviewing/playing our game without our update, on a leaked copy, then please don’t. It’s not what players will experience.
— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) August 6, 2016
Last Friday, several retailers broke street date and were selling PS4 copies early. Gaming sites Kotaku and Polygon were able to simply walk in and purchase it. They uploaded footage of the game. Sony (who’s helping publish the game) fought back. Sony has been vigilant in removing pre-release footage (though Hello Games is discussing it with Sony). Hello Games has also stated they will wipe the servers on Sunday and Monday. Review copies and embargo are set until around Midnight tonight.
The reason for all this panic is due to a massive incoming patch that sizably alters large portions of the game. The patch notes are lengthy, extensive, and contain some spoilers on gameplay mechanics. A single line states that “we changed the rules of the universe generation algorithm” and that “galaxies are now up to 10x larger.”
Day One Patches, as they’re referred to, are not uncommon. In the modern video game industry games are constantly updated, tweaked, and fixed. Online games especially often receive a sizable update, as developers continue to work on the game after it’s “gone gold” and pressed to discs. Indie developer Rami Ismail of Vlambeer wrote up a fantastic break down explaining release dates, certification, and day one patches.
But a complete overhaul like this is practically unheard of. Future updates may be just as large, as lead designer Sean Murray teases base building and giant space freighters still to come. Should No Man’s Sky live up to its lofty expectations, all this drama will quickly fade away.