After two years and change from a third in Early Access, Starbound is gearing up for its big launch. Patch 1.0 is "getting close" and incorporates a vast array of new features, some reworked returning features and the promise of Steam Workshop support for modding. However, Chucklefish is keen to stress that 1.0 is not the end—it'll be mechanically complete but the content will keep on comping.
Story takes the headline slot: "You are a Protector in training. The protectors belong to the Terrene Protectorate. An organisation formed on earth by humanity to protect and guide the universe towards peace. The story begins on earth, on your graduation day and quickly has you hurtling out into the stars."
Patch 1.0 will bring eight instanced missions ending in unique boss fights. Unlocking them requires some questing on your part, hunting for clues across the stars by exploring, talking to the natives and building your own colonies. Together it forms a "cohesive narrative".
Planets are set to become more diverse with the addition of multiple major biomes: expect to find the likes of volcanoes in jungles, alongside new dungeons, microdungeons and villages. Planets are also getting busier with the addition of new side quests and procedurally generated quests dispensed by NPCs with knowledge of their planet and its major landmarks.
Multiplayer is being greatly improved, utilising Steam invites instead of faffing around with server details to drop into friends' singleplayer games. If you prefer complete control, however, private servers are still an option.
And this isn't to mention the crafting, augmentation and pet taming overhauls, the optimisations, the return of hunger to a dedicated survival mode and a collection of brand new weapons. The update is huge, so here are the patch notes in all their glory.