No Man's Sky hits its next big "point zero" update today, this time in the form of No Man's Sky 4.0: Waypoint. Hello Games is promising "an overhaul of design and balance" in this patch, which introduces a new 'relaxed mode', sweeping inventory changes, and various tweaks to help people who have been away from the game ease back in. Oh, and the game's getting a Switch release too, if you're into that.
The new relaxed mode promises to let players meander through the No Man's Sky universe at a, well, relaxed pace. It tones down the game's survival elements for players who "just want to chill out". It's basically a stop-gap between the game's normal and creative modes: letting players kick back for a bit but without unlocking everything and eliminating challenge almost entirely. As if to compensate, survival mode has gotten a few tweaks to make it a bit more challenging.
Most interesting for me—someone who last played No Man's Sky some time in the Mesolithic Period—is the emphasis that Waypoint is putting on welcoming back returning players who might be baffled by the myriad updates the game has received over the years. Players coming back to the game will find a log that summarises No Man's Sky's story thus far, as well as a "new milestone system, new collectibles and improved mission content" to ease re-entry into the game.
There's a spate of other updates too: inventories have been expanded and streamlined, and ships, players, and weapons have received increased level caps. Plus, players can now fine-tune various difficulty settings themselves: you can now toggle discrete settings like permadeath even within modes that don't usually have it.
The Waypoint update was described as a bit of a house-cleaning for No Man's Sky when Hello Games' Sean Murray chatted to PCG recently, and it's certainly true that 'inventory changes and a new mode' doesn't have quite the same flagship feature pizzazz as 'ridable sandworms'. But the little things add up, and it sounds like the game's 21st major update will have serious impact on a game that was once in a pretty dishevelled state all those years ago. You can check out the full patch notes here.