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What To Expect From No Man's Sky's Next-Gen Upgrade

No Man's Sky is a modern ugly duckling story. The game launched in an appallingly bad state, but the studio behind No Man's Sky, Hello Games, took all the criticism in stride. Instead of buckling under the overwhelmingly negative pressure and abandoning the title to create a new game, Hello Games stuck with No Man's Sky to fix its mistakes. It took several years, but the game improved inch by inch. Now, No Man's Sky is one of the few games that can claim it discovered newfound popularity years after release, and the studio shows no sign of stopping.


The future of No Man's Sky lies in the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, so the team at Hello Games is releasing an upgrade to take advantage of the new consoles and their capabilities.

The next generation of No Man's Sky, fittingly titled No Man's Sky: Next Generation, was recently announced for both the Xbox Series X and PS5. The update will release on both the Xbox Series X and PS5, and better yet, will be free for all existing No Man's Sky players.

Since Next Generation will launch on the next generation of consoles (pun possibly intended), the game will be able to take advantage of their graphical horsepower. Each procedurally generated rock, blade of grass, and world will pop like never before with improved shadows, volumetric effects, and lighting. Planets will provide extra-scenic vistas with enhanced draw distances, thousands more renderable rocks and plants, and 4K locales at 60fps.


However, Next Generation won't just be a glorified graphical overhaul. The update will also help the consoles versions pick up the pace and play more like the PC rendition. For example, players can currently join eight-man teams on Xbox One and PS4, but with Next Generation, the squad cap will jump to 32. And, with more players comes a bigger workforce to produce larger and more complicated bases. Not only can these 32-man squads band together to form sprawling space colonies, but players will be able to appreciate them more thanks to the improved draw distances.

Other important changes will take the form of under the hood improvements. For example, Next Generation will tap into the SSDs of the Xbox Series consoles and the PS5 to load anywhere between five to 10 times faster, essentially hopping between solar systems in the literal blink of an eye. And cross-play is also coming to Next Generation. Well, the feature was introduced to No Man's Sky back in June, but with Next Generation's cross-play, early Xbox Series X and PS5 adopters can play the game with friends and family who haven't made the leap to the next console generation.

Of course, all of these changes are only the universal upgrades gamers can expect from both the Xbox Series X and PS5 ports of Next Generation. If the consoles were created equal, that would be the end of it, but they aren't. The Series X and PS5 come with unique features that set them and their games apart. However, the Xbox Series X announcement doesn't mention any of these, so we can just move on to the PS5 exclusive additions.


According to the PS5 version of the announcement (which is mostly the same as the Xbox Series X blog post), PS5 players will get to experience the worlds of No Man's Sky with haptic controls. Every shot from a boltcaster and gentle nudge from slotting building parts into place will be felt thanks to the DualSense's haptic feedback. Moreover, VR functionality will carry over from the PS4 version thanks to backwards compatibility. But even if you have a PSVR headset, it won't work out of the box with a PS5. You need a special PS Camera adaptor for your new console, which you can order free of charge. Just be patient and wait for your package to arrive — then you can experience the Next Generation upgrade in full VR glory.

No Man's Sky is touted as an evolving game, and Next Generation is likewise considered "just another step in the evolution" of the title. Once you pick up Next Generation, it will come with all of the game's existing upgrades and content, so you don't have to worry about downloading any extra files. We can probably expect plenty more updates for years to come, some of which might only be possible through the power of next generation consoles. Only the developers at Hello Games know for sure what is in store for the universe of No Man's Sky.