The dust has settled, the reviews have come in, and what’s clear is No Man’s Sky is a hugely divisive game. A cursory look at Metacritic has its scores ranging from the heady heights of 100 to lowly depths of 50. There are plenty of reasons why NMS is so divisive – the repetitiveness, constant inventory management, or loneliness to name just three – but it’s clear Hello Games have plans for the future of NMS. Sean Murray has even said as much: “This universe we’ve built is a pretty large canvas; we’ve got a lot of ideas. This is the type of game we want to be.” With that in mind, here are seven ways Hello Games can improve NMS.
The point-to-point ground movement in NMS is obnoxiously slow. Even when you have an upgraded jetpack and longer running speeds, it’s impossible to traverse a planet without using your ship, which in turn burns precious fuels. Hello Games need to introduce some form of ground transportation, whether that’s Destin- style sparrows or the ability to tame and ride some of the many animals in the game; we have to be able to traverse the land quicker and easier.
There are aliens in No Man’s Sky; The beaked Gek; The robotic Korvax; and the humanoid Vy’keen. For all intents and purposes, though, they don’t really do anything. There is some amount of interaction, but no real feeling there. An easy way to change that would be to downscale the monotonous discovery of shelters and monoliths across a planet, and have Aliens actually give you quests; check out a crashed ship, mine some precious ore, discover a species. A reward for a completed task could increase standing with the race and allow, possibly, for more difficult challenges to be requested of you in the future.
This one’s a biggie. Since the release of the game players have been begging for the ability to customise their individual ships. They’re not asking for much, a colour change or simple renaming would allow players to really become attached to their vessels; I would love to be able to call my ship the Dragonfly and change its colour to a garish blue. Other customisations could come later, possibly culminating in a full-scale ship designer.
Currently, the background on my phone is a screenshot taken from NMS, and it’s beautiful. The only problem is that the HUD interferes. With this being a PS4-console exclusive and the PS4 having a dedicated screenshot/share button, it’s incredible that Hello Games haven’t implemented a photo mode with the HUD removed. Yes, not every planet you stumble upon will be a beauty, but when it is, you want to be able to capture it without a pesky HUD in the way.
One of the majesties of NMS is the idea that you are alone, exploring and discovering with very little help. That’s great, but at some point, you will find a place that you would like to come back to later when you have, for example, more inventory room or specific elements on you. Problem is you can’t mark a specific place, leave, and come back later. Once you leave a planet, you won’t find specific parts of it again (at least not easily). Being able to create custom waypoints would alleviate that issue.
Revamped Inventory System
NMS’ inventory system leaves a lot to be desired. You are constantly finding yourself facing the agonising decision of having to remove items from your inventory to make room for something that you believe is more important. It could be so easily improved, though. I’m not talking about more slots – that would be too easy – but rather, have your inventory split between suit/ship upgrades and your actual inventory. What’s the point in having them one and the same, it makes no sense. Allow players to micro manage both suit and starship upgrades, and inventory. Then there can be no complaints. You can find general upgrades giving you extra slots but forcing you to choose a new utility slot or a new inventory slot.
This final one is a cheat because Hello Games have said they are working on it, but I’m going to count it anyway. Introduce base building, and couple it with a resource stockpiling ability but in order to keep it fair, make the upgrade trees like Metal Gear Solid 5’s, whereby I mean make it take time and a lot of resources to make the general upgrades. This would avoid the problem of people easily being able to stockpile resources.