No Man’s Sky Origins Update Finally Makes Planets Feel More Alive

I’ve had many complaints with No Man’s Sky throughout the years. Through countless updates, Hello Games has drastically improved the number of things to do and made the universe feel a heck of a lot less empty. But there’s always been one area that’s been lacking: the planets themselves.

Despite many additions like new planet types with hexagonal structures, living creatures made of light and many more, it still felt like something was missing. Sure they’re out of this world (quite literally), but they wowed us just by looking alien more than anything. Today, however, Hello Games released the new Origins update for No Man’s Sky, a 3.0 release, that finally may have met the expectations I’ve had all along.

What’s Changed?

Well for one, worlds have had their height caps expanded leading to far more variation in mountains and valleys. Take this video from OrbQueenCometh, for example. Heights like this were previously only possible in modded games. After jumping off a mountain, they fall for almost a full minute! These heights function as great vistas for everything else that’s been updated.

Cloud rendering has been overhauled and now changes with time so you won’t just have generic overcast conditions all the time anymore. They’ll come rolling in during storms and rapidly fall away once it’s all over. From space, cloud coverage finally matches what’s actually on the planet. No more flying down to a cloud covered island only to land and have the skies be clear.

There’s also a lot of simple improvements such as reintroducing color varieties which were inexplicably removed years ago. Terrain detailing has been increased, helping the ground feel less blobby and more refined. And more importantly, “plant quality” (i.e. the density and variety of grass, etc) on higher graphics settings has been massively increased. The difference is honestly staggering which you can see in this comparison video from TimeRogue.

So Much More to Encounter

What I’m trying to get at is previous planets on No Man’s Sky felt static. They stayed as they were almost all of the time with few exceptions. It’s only now, with the Origins update, that they finally feel like proper ecosystems.

I’m yet to encounter some of the rarer content that was included in the update, but there are new threats like actual thunder storms, tornados, literal fire storms, meteor storms, and gravitational shifts. Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like being on a lifeless, airless planet, and watching meteors rain in every minute or so. It does wonders to make everything feel so much more immersive.

Also there can now be giant, underground sandworms à la Dune or thresher maws from Mass Effect. So, uh, look forward to that, I guess.

Quality of Life Improvements

Top that off with a renewed user interface, better exploration tracking (finally), and a vastly improved portal experience, and it’s a great time to jump back in. For those of us, like me, who haven’t played in some time, the updates have been compounding. Remember discovering a ship you really liked the look of but having to abandon it because it was a low class? Now you can fly up to a space station and improve all of the major determining factors like inventory size and ship class. For a price though, of course. Heck, you can do the same with your multitool as well.

You can get a full look at what’s changed over on the No Man’s Sky website. It also includes the complete patch notes for the Origins update.