11 changes we want to see in No Man's Sky's future updates

When I spoke to Sean Murray back in March he mentioned that No Man’s Sky didn’t feel like a game that was right for paid DLC (a statement he has recently stepped back from a bit) but he did mention that the game might receive free updates based on player behavior and feedback. I can certainly think of a few changes I’d like to see in the coming weeks and months, so I put together a wishlist.

Here’s what I hope to see in future updates to No Man’s Sky (counting out a total overhaul of the inventory system and other issues I mention in my review). Let’s begin with a very simple one.

Move this damn door

From here:

To here:

See? No more awkward jetpacking up to the second floor during each of your hundreds of visits to a space station, and no more shattering your ankle bones jumping back down on your way out. I've just made the game 50% better. You're welcome.

OK, onto the rest.

Add mercenary pilots

Along with miner and trader, pirate is a staple profession of space games. And while you can raid freighters and snorfle up their booty, a pirate just isn't a pirate unless he's got mates. Being able to hire a couple of wingmen would be a welcome addition to No Man's Sky, pilots who would follow you around, attack what you attack, and defend you from sentinel spacecraft. If they get blown up, you can hire another, and if you run of of money (unlikely) they'll ditch you.

Even if you're not into piracy, No Man's Sky can be a lonely experience, so having a couple of ships following you around would be nice. And when they land on planets beside you, having their extra ship's inventory would make collecting resources and hauling them back to trading posts a bit more lucrative.

No more screen hijacking

No Man's Sky, a game that doesn't give you a lot of information about complicated things, also seems terribly afraid you're going to miss information about simple things. When you enter a room containing a single alien, for example, it likes to make sure you notice that single alien by letterboxing your screen and preventing you from interacting with anything for several seconds. So you don't miss seeing the alien. The single alien. That you're alone in the room with.

Milestones, too, are called out, such as when you have met a certain number of aliens. While it is nice to know when you've accomplished a milestone, it doesn't need to prevent you from, say, climbing back into your ship and going off to meet more aliens. Knock off the letterboxing. An on-screen notification that won't stop me from clicking things is just fine.

Single-click discovery uploads

After leaving a planet or system behind, discoveries remain in your databanks unless you manually, one by one, upload each and every one of them. It’s sort of nice when you forget to do this for a few hours, and then upload everything to receive an influx of space-cash, but having to tediously scroll through the list of discoveries and hold a key down for each and every one of them is a drag.

I don’t want it to be automatic—just in case I want to name something before I upload it—but a 'upload all discoveries' button, maybe with an 'are you sure?' prompt would be a big time-saver.

Give pulse drives infinite fuel

I have a real bone to pick here. Pulse drives, which let you travel quickly between planets, can run out of fuel. This slows you down to normal speed, which means becoming stranded between planets that might take hours or days to reach without those pulse engines.

Except it doesn't mean that at all. Hello Games wanted the pulse drives to run out of fuel, but didn’t want players to be stranded, because being stranded would be completely awful. So, they littered every square inch of outer space with Thamium9-laden asteroids. When you run out of pulse fuel, you can just shoot the asteroids, refill the engines, and be back along your way.

Do you see what I'm getting at? They created a problem—running out of pulse fuel—then provided an instant solution: asteroids full of pulse fuel are always ten feet from your face. It’s just an added irritation, something that interrupts your trip for no reason. Why bother with any of it? Pulse drives should be infinite, so you don’t have to stop, and asteroids could be far less frequent, so hunting them down for other minerals might actually be fun.

Space stations should sell blueprints and ships

Blueprints are currently distributed at random upon finding crashed tech, killing sentinels, or passing alien language tests. Sometimes, though, you’re looking for something very specific and don’t want to spend the time hunting down pods or allowing sentient computer programs to jab needles in your eye. When I'm looking through the galactic trade orb located on the first floor of space stations, give me a page of blueprints to choose from, too. It's OK if they're random, I just want to up the odds of finding what I'm looking for.

Acquiring new ships is one of the best parts of space games, and while No Man’s Sky has its share of them, they always seem to be identical to my current ship, storage-wise, or several light-years out of my price range. In addition to the alien trader ships docking in the lobby, why not a little garage to browse and choose from a few extra models. And hey: store the ship I traded in, so if I take a test drive in the new jalopy and find I don't like it, I can return it and get my original ship back.

Repair service

I’ve traveled great distances, visited planets, and been inside more black holes than Christian Slater’s career. That doesn’t mean I’m not a lazy, lazy man. When it comes to repairing the various parts of my ship: weapons systems, shields, and drives, I’m not always in the mood to go hunting for crystals and plants to collect the proper minerals. Space stations and planetary landing pads should have a ‘repair this system’ and ‘repair all’ option for ships, so I can just dump some units into a bug-eyed mechanic’s pocket and be back on my way. 

It could be expensive, sure, but the option to have someone else dig up all that copper would be worth it. 

Let me see what my friends are up to

We still have no flippin' idea about just what the hell is going on with other players in the game. We were told that the chances of running into a player were just about zero, but if we did we'd be able to see them. Neither of those things appear to be accurate: two players immediately wound up in the same system, went to the same exact spot, and yet they couldn't detect each other.

Hello Games hasn't answered for any of that yet, but in the meantime it would, at the very least, be nice to locate my Steam friends, view their position on the galaxy map, see what creatures and planets they've discovered and what sorts of rude names they've given them.

Let my ship also be a submarine

I spend almost no time underwater in No Man's Sky, mainly because swimming is even more annoyingly slow than walking on land is. It's a shame—there are some nice sights to be seen under the alien seas, and presumably some sort of procedurally generated seafood. I just don't go down there. Almost ever.

Why not let me fly my ship around underwater, like a submarine? Then I could explore the depths on ocean planets at leisure, not worry about having to make the long, slow swim back to land, and maybe even find some sea monsters to catalog and crudely name.

Real statistics

Your progress is tracked in milestones, which is nice except for the issue I mentioned earlier. But there are only nine milestones, and not much in the way of hard data. No Man's Sky tells me how many times I've warped but, bafflingly, not how many planets I've landed on. It would be nice to know without having to manually count.

How many experiments have NPCs performed on me? Which alien race likes me best? How many creatures have I killed, and how many of those killings were because those damn flapping alien bats won't hold still long enough to be scanned? What's the furthest I've walked from my ship? How many pounds of gold have I mined? How many times did I find a use for the ricocheting boltcaster upgrade? (OK, that one is easy, zero.)

Point is, we like data, and we'd love to see more of it.

Let us blow up one planet each

Ever find a shitty planet? Just a pointless, ugly, complete shithole of a rock? Maybe it's boring and brown and dull. Maybe the animals on it are all dumb-looking or bite you for no reason. Maybe it was the tenth time in a row you landed to look for the last 12 units of aluminum you needed to craft your warp drive upgrade and you just couldn't find it anywhere, or maybe you've found 18 of the 19 species but try as you might you can't just find that last one, and you're annoyed and frustrated and just this once firing your mining laser into the face of a docile space cow make you feel better.

Every player should be given one planetary nuke. Just one. And you can use it to completely destroy a single planet, not just from your own game but from the universe of every other player. Don't worry. There are 18 quintillion planets left. The universe ain't gonna run out.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.