No Man's Sky has gone and outdone itself again. Earlier this month, studio head Sean Murray called the Frontiers update "a missing piece of the sci-fi fantasy that we’ve always wanted to add," and I admit I didn't pick up on the hint. I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't that the Frontiers update would add huge planetary settlements, tons of new base building pieces, Sentinel settlement raids, and the ability to become arbiter and overseer of the local settlement too. No Man's Sky's update 3.6 has launched today with all that and a lot more.
There are a heck of a lot of additions in the Frontiers update but the planetary settlements are the big central cog connecting most of them. Inhabited planets all across the universe now have procedurally generated towns full of space folks on them.
There are quite a lot of new building pieces too. Hundreds, Hello Games say. New sets based on timber, stone and alloy materials all have their own look. You can spot what appear to be the stone-based building pieces here in the Frontiers trailer. It makes for a settlement with a sort of desert-y vibe, I think.
Hello Games say you'll need to earn the respect of the citizens in order to get a job as Overseer. After that, you'll be in charge of "naming the town, choosing what to build, commissioning festivals, resolving arguments, repelling the attacks of the Sentinels, and much more". Visiting NPCs may even request to join your settlement, whether they be talented chefs or robotics experts.
Now look, I admit that I get excited about every single No Man's Sky update, in theory, while the truth is that the sheer size this game has grown to has made me skittish about actually ever going back. When I say that Frontiers has me written all over it though, I really, really mean it this time. I don't so much care about repelling those Sentinel attacks. No Man's Sky's combat has never seemed to be its most interesting bit by my estimation. I sure do want to adpot my very own settlement and fiddle with all its buildings though. I just want to build forever.
On that note, Hello Games also say they've made a number of improvements to the base building workflow. A new interface gives you quicker access to things like scaling and rotating pieces. There's also a newly-added edit mode which will let you move pieces without destroying and rebuilding them. Not revolutionary, perhaps, but very welcome. Ah, and there's a free placement mode that'll let you achieve wackier builds by turning off pieces snapping to one another.
There's another benefit to being Overseer as well. "A populous, happy, and productive settlement will provide a generous supply of resources to its overseer every day," Hello Games say. How kind of them.
Hello games have really gone and added a lite city management simulation into their procedural universe and I've got not complaints with that. All this time I suppose I didn't want to fly across the universe so much as I wanted to find a nice patch of purple grass to build my digital doll house on.
There's still more that that yet in the 3.6 update, including nebulas out in space and a third season of the Expeditions game mode. You can catch the full Frontiers update notes on the No Man's Sky site.