There’s a tiny little snowflake on the official No Man’s Sky Twitter account (belonging to Hello Games founder Sean Murray). While that might not sound too exciting, it actually hints that we’ll get a major NMS update sometime in the next few days. Murray always teases major (not to mention free) content expansions for the game via emojis — which are usually related to the “theme” of that update. Though it’s usually somewhat obtuse, leaving fans time to guess what it all means.
UPDATE: The trailer for the No Man’s Sky “Fractal” update is here and it seems at least largely focused on enhanced VR support (likely to coincide with the launch of PlayStation VR 2). However, there’s also a new vehicle and a new Expedition for all players to enjoy! We’ve embedded the new trailer below, but otherwise the original story and my incorrect guesses follow.
So, what do we guess?
My first and most obvious theory is that we’re getting some kind of environmental update. NMS made it easier for players to adjust save files — including the ability to swap between Survival and other customizable difficulty modes — last year. Yet “survival” as a whole is still a little bit basic. Icy, toxic, and superheated planets and moons all behave pretty much the same. Just with different color schemes. It’d be interesting if, say, frozen worlds presented entirely different challenges than your average, barren rock.
The emojis can also refer to extremely specific elements of an update. If we drill down a bit more, it’s possible the snowflake refers to things being cold. Here’s a shot in the dark, but perhaps it hints at refrigerating food — expanding the cooking system added in February 2022.
If we assume that particular direction, though, my most confident guess would be that this update involves the cold… of the void. Space anomalies have been a part of NMS for years now. Yet they mostly only yield a few rare but unexciting resources you can sell at trade terminals. Recent patches have introduced new ways to interact with space. Such as recruiting squadrons, commanding freighters, smuggling goods, and the like. Yet there hasn’t been much new stuff added to space since the “Desolation” update nearly three years ago.
Not all previous emojis have been so clear-cut, though. For example, the “Living Ship” update was preceded by a simple egg (because you hatch those ships in-game from eggs). The aforementioned “Desolation” update, on the other hand, was simply a skull. Presumably to signal the general horror-y vibe of the expansion, which was all about inspecting derelict freighters infected with deadly fungus monsters.
All of which is to say: we simply don’t know what to expect yet. It’s just kind of fun to guess from time to time! At the very least, we almost certainly won’t have to wait long to learn more. Previous updates have always come within a week or two — sometimes just a few days — of the initial emoji teaser from Murray and the team.
Regardless of how long it takes, it’s also exciting to see the game still getting free content updates. This will be the first we’ve had for 2023. Not to mention the last one, “Waypoint,” was fairly minor compared to the quite grandiose new additions Hello Games has continued to release for the nearly seven-year-old game. We’ll make sure to update you with more news on what is specifically cycling into No Man’s Sky this time when the patch goes live!