"You want multiplayer?" Hello Games (probably) asked last summer, ahead of No Man's Sky's last big update, named Next. "Buddy, you've got it." At that point, I imagine a good chunk of the game's player base looked at the four-player offering, shrugged, and replied: "Sure, that's nice and all, but we were expecting... bigger."
Personally, I was happy pottering about on my lonesome for a couple
dozen hundred hours. It turns out plenty of folks quite like having friends, though. Beyond, the big(ger) multiplayer update for No Man's Sky, looks like it'll make finding them easier than ever when it blasts off in two weeks.
No Man's Sky: Beyond is meant to be properly huge, bringing both a "radical new social and multiplayer experience" alongside virtual reality support. There's also, maybe, a third thing? But since they haven't talked about it I've got nothing to say.
Next brought multiplayer to No Man's Sky in earnest last year (after a brief period where everyone was a ghost). It was quite intimate, mind. Four friends can easily get lost in a galaxy that big.
While there are frustratingly few deets on Beyond right now, it sounds like Hello want to jack that scale up considerably. What we do know is that Hello won't be charging any sort of sub fee, and jettisoned any thoughts of microtransactions into the void.
I wouldn't expect Eve Online's 40,000 player battles, but I figure it'll be a little like Elite: Dangerous's nicely populated hubs. No Man's Sky has been surrounded by communities looking to set up hubs and cities despite some strong limitations. Those interstellar hubs should be about to explode into bustling little space hamlets.
Beyond's other big feature, VR support, is something that's felt a long time coming. I don't even own one of those expensive head-bricks, but this might be the part of the update I'm most excited about. Thrilled at the idea of having a nice wee sit on some alien world. Lie in some of that blue grass with a horrific bug-cow, watching the clouds go by. Gosh, Nat, you're so exciting.
No Man's Sky: Beyond is out on August 14th.