From the very beginning of No Man’s Sky, wandering a virtually endless universe proved to be a terribly lonely experience. But no more. The latest “Next” update to the game adds a bonafide multiplayer feature that vastly improves upon the limited multiplayer added in the previous “Atlas Rises” update.
So how can No Man’s Sky players squad up with their friends? As it turns out, it’s shockingly easy, allowing anybody to build bases, establish fleets of spaceships, and take on anything the universe has to offer with their intergalactic besties.
Whenever players boot up No Man’s Sky, they’re given the option to opt in or out of multiplayer experiences. Opting in functions vaguely like multiplayer from the Dark Souls games or Bloodborne in that you open yourself to random encounters. Except players see randos as simple floating orbs with minimal interaction available.
Selecting “Play Game” at the outset opens the player up to these limited random encounters, but selecting “Join Game” allows someone to join a random session or an active session being played by someone on their friend’s list. The “Join Game” functionality creates a legitimate party, which means everyone can see one another, interact, share resources, and even talk via voice chat.
In an interview with Hello Games lead Sean Murray on Sony’s PlayStation blog, Murray spoke about how the new multiplayer is mostly focused on co-op experiences for players. “You can gather together a team — a small group of friends — and own freighters, build bases, race vehicles, take on missions, share and trade resources and just, you know, help each other along,” he said.
Up to 16 players can be in a single star system at any time, but anyone outside the player’s active party will just appear as those floating orbs — the way multiplayer was presented since the “Atlas Rises” update.
There’s also the option to party up with players via the in-game menu, assuming online interactions are already enabled. In this way, if someone that’s already playing notices that their friend just logged online, they can invite them into an active game session quite easily.
From there, anybody can team up to casually explore the universe.
No Man’s Sky is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.