The Fractal update is the game’s first major patch of 2023.
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I’m beginning to worry that Hello Games can’t stop working on No Man’s Sky at this point. It just put out No Man’s Sky’s 163rd update (opens in new tab)—which it’s calling Fractal—bringing a new starship, a new expedition, a robotic companion, and other bits and bobs to its space-based exploration and survival game.
The update has been timed to coincide with the release of Sony’s PS VR2 (opens in new tab), so the game is getting a “virtual reality overhaul” on all platforms. That means the UI has “been completely remade for virtual reality,” and a bunch of in-game interactions have gotten “special VR-only options” like lifting up your cockpit by hand, grabbing objects in the world, or straight-up punching aliens you come across.
The new ship is the Utopia Speeder, a blocky, X-Wing-looking thing that will let players “skim across planet surfaces at high velocity,” which I thought sounded pretty dangerous until I realised it’s actually just describing a plane. It presumably has something to do with No Man’s Sky’s new expedition, named Utopia, that will “[challenge] players to work together and rebuild an abandoned solar system for the mysterious Utopia Foundation”. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from fiction, it’s that institutions promising utopias are inherently very trustworthy, so that’s doubtless all above-board.
A grip of rewards awaits you at the end of that expedition. Stuff like a new helmet, a drone companion, and other goodies can be unlocked by following the new questline through to its conclusion. You can also document the things you see along the way in the game’s new Wonders Catalogue, that will let you keep a book of the coolest stuff you’ve seen on your adventures, “from tallest mountain to strangest creature,” and allow you to compare notes with other players.
Aside from all that, Hello has implemented a suite of accessibility changes, like “a range of tools to adjust visual effects, cameras, and controls,” and options for bigger, more readable text. We’ve also got support for gyroscopic controls on Steam Deck, too, if you’re tired of that right analogue stick. Now, please, someone let this studio get some sleep.