If there's one question echoing around the belly of the No Man's Sky universe over the last few days, it's these three: "What the bleeding heck is an Atlas Pass? And how do I get one? And what's for tea?" Well, we can bring you the answer to at least two of these queries. Below are the possibly spoilery details of how you can open all those bloody locked doors and sealec containers.
To repeat, this is technically a spoiler. Although a spoiler for something the game is outrageously bad at pointing players toward, least of all communicating that you're not actually meant to have one early on.
Right at the start of the game, next to your first crashed ship, lies an orb. When used, it'll ask you if you want to follow the path toward Atlas, or somesuch rubbish. And you've absolutely no frame of reference for how to reply. It's dumb beyond belief. But, assuming you say yes, you're opening up a possible path through the game that's a bit Star Trek V as you search for God. This is the direction in which you need to head. The game will start prompting you to get off the planet's surface and head to space, then perform a search. These will create location markets on particular planets, and when headed to you'll start getting the bits and pieces you need, both for building a hyperdrive, and for finding out more about this Atlas business.
At a certain point in this quest chain a third option becomes available on the Galactic Map, letting you move down a chain of stars toward the Atlas Interface instead of the centre. That's your route. And a quick tip - make sure to check if you can go more than one star in a single jump. At one point I noticed I could leap three ahead to reach the end.
Here you'll find yourself flown to a special base with a giant red orb. Again you're asked a confusing, meaningless question, but just keep nodding and agreeing (it's like so many religions!) and you'll be given an Atlas Stone. You're halfway there!
This will now open up a new chain of stars on that story path, and again you need to warp your way along them, until a certain point where an anomaly appears. It's in here that you'll be given the blueprint for crafting an Atlas Pass. With a few basic elements you can get your ticket.
If you ignored the Atlas story, you can apparently still stumble upon Atlas Doodahs in star systems you visit, and get there that way. But huh.
What a palaver.
The Atlas Pass is just one important item in No Man's Sky. You should also learn how to craft Warp Cells, how to efficiently gather resources, and learn about No Man's Sky's resources generally. You'll also probably want to increase your ship and exosuit inventory slots. Or hit up our No Man's Sky guide hub for more.
Disclosure: Our Alec did some writing for No Man's Sky, and so doesn't write about it for us anymore.