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7 years after launch, No Man's Sky adds its first new race in its biggest update of the year

 No Man's Sky Echoes update key art
No Man's Sky Echoes update key art

Two years before Starfield was announced, the sprawling sci-fi epic No Man's Sky launched to a decidedly mixed reaction: It really wasn't quite what was promised by the pre-release hype. Seven years later, Starfield is just a week away from release, and No Man's Sky has evolved into a genuine hit, and has now dropped yet another major update, Echoes, that adds an all-new race of robots to the game with "rich new story content" for players to explore.

The robotic Autophage are the first new race to be added to No Man's Sky since it launched in 2016, and developer Hello Games said it hopes they—and the rest of the Echoes update—will help "breathe new life into the universe." Players will be able to learn the language of the Autophage, explore their mysteries and perform their rituals, and collect mechanical parts that will ultimately enable them to create a unique ceremonial staff and even a full robotic avatar.

Combat in space also gets a major overhaul in this update, enabling battles between freighters for the first time. Naturally, pirates have freighters too, and you'll need to defend fleets from their predatory ways—in a single-seat fighter, of course: "Fly through enemy trenches to sabotage their shields, and destroy them!" Because that's just how things are done in space.

There are numerous smaller changes in the Echoes update—you can, for instance, search for, trade, and scrap weapons to become a "Multi-tool scrap merchant," if that's what you're into—but maybe the most impressive thing is the fact that this update exists at all. No Man's Sky seemed destined to be remembered mainly as a cautionary tale against hype when it first came out, but years of patches and updates have produced a genuinely remarkable turnaround.

A full breakdown of the No Man's Sky: Echoes update is posted at nomanssky.com. The patch notes are below.

THE AUTOPHAGE

  • A mysterious new race of mechanical constructs, the Autophage, now await discovery at hidden sites all across the galaxy.

  • Uncover their secrets during an expansive narrative-based mission that probes the Convergence, the Atlas, and the deep truths of the universe.

  • Complete this mission to earn your own Voltaic Staff: a brand new Multi-Tool with its own unique animation set.

  • The Autophage are tracked as their own faction within your Journey Milestones, with associated medals and missions.

  • Autophage lurk at planetary sites on many worlds. Earn the appropriate technology and your scanner will reveal their hidden camps.

  • The Autophage have their own unique language to learn, with hundreds of words to collect and catalogue.

  • Improve your standing among these mechanical beings to earn exclusive new player titles.

  • Travellers with good standing among the constructs may undertake a new series of procedurally generated missions for each individual Autophage, earning reputation, new words, unique rewards, and more.

  • A vast new range of Autophage customisation options have been added. Earn Void Motes by assisting the Autophage, and use these to unlock these new customisation options at any construct camp.

  • The Autophage offer access to new procedurally-generated Exosuit technologies.

  • In addition to robotic parts, players can earn new cloth-based customisation options, including drapes, hoods, and face masks. Once earned, these can be mixed with any other customisation setup, allowing for a vast array of new looks.

  • Once of sufficient standing, Travellers can earn and select from a huge array of parts and assemble their very own customised staff Multi-Tool.

MONOLITHS

  • Players who have become acquainted with the Autophage can now discover secrets within Korvax monolith sites.

  • Infusing these relics with Atlantideum allows access to new stories and lore, revealing the history of both the Korvax and the Constructs.

  • In addition, a rare new class of Atlantid Multi-Tool can be found at these sites, assembled in exchange for nanites.

  • As well as unique visuals and stats, these Multi-Tools come equipped with a Runic Lens, a fusion of mining beam and cloaking device.

WONDER PROJECTOR

  • A new base part, the Wonder Projector, has been added. Research this part aboard the Space Anomaly.

  • This holographic device can be used to decorate your base with 3D projections of your favourite discoveries.

CAPES

  • Players on Nintendo Switch may now equip capes.

  • Switch players who would have otherwise earned a cape from a previous Expedition have had their saves upgraded to reflect this, and have been credited with capes they could have redeemed.

  • All players using a Vy’keen appearance may now equip capes.

MULTI-TOOL DECOMMISSIONING

  • Visit the Space Anomaly to use the new Multi-Tool salvage station.

  • Multi-Tools can now be broken down into valuable scrap, freeing up slots and earning upgrades and other resources.

QUALITY OF LIFE & UI

  • An upgraded version of the Personal Refiner has been added, available to research aboard the Space Anomaly.

  • This advanced refining unit allows players to combine multiple substances while on the move, unlocking mobile access to more sophisticated recipes.

  • A number of new refining recipes have been added, including basalt and runaway mould.

  • The flow for creating and assigning Custom Wonders has been refined for speed and clarity.

  • Wonders relating to planets will now show the Portal glyphs among the planet details in the popup.

  • The camera framing of interactions with Vy’keen NPCs has been improved.

  • NPCs now exhibit a greater variation in bodyshape and height.

  • The legibility of the Galaxy Map colourblind filters has been improved.

  • When starships are stationary or moving backwards, readouts are now provided in distance-based units rather than time-based units.

  • Pirates will no longer begin strafing runs upon the player’s position while the player is locked in an interaction.

  • When missions suggest players use the galaxy map, they now use the galaxy map notification icon when the map is accessible.

  • Fixed an issue that prevented adaptive trigger support from working when using a DualSense controller on PC.

  • When joining another player with a brand new save, players now have the ability to fully customise their difficulty settings.

  • Fixed an issue that made the Traveller grave interactions difficult to read when playing VR in high resolutions.

  • Fixed an issue that caused the shop interface to appear in an awkward position when playing VR in high resolutions.

  • Fixed an issue that caused the UI for interacting with various crates and containers to appear in an awkward position when playing VR in high resolutions.

  • Fixed an issue that caused a number of options that do not apply to VR to appear in VR options menus.

  • Fixed an issue that caused incorrect buttons to be suggested as the way to close some UI elements when using Move controllers.

  • Fixed an issue that caused the “GENERAL” heading to appear in lowercase on the controls options page.

  • Fixed an issue that caused frigate captains to speak to the player as if their frigate had already been recruited when they present their vessel for hire.

  • Fixed an issue that caused some NPCs to be given the wrong title on a small number of UI screens.

  • Fixed an issue that caused the “Target Locked” text on the starship targeting screen to become clipped on Nintendo Switch.

  • Fixed an issue that caused a distorted icon to appear in some popups when playing in PSVR2.

  • Fixed a number of miscellaneous text issues.

SPACE COMBAT

  • Players can now balance power modes in their starship; switching between a balanced setup or prioritising weapons, shields, or engine systems.

  • All capital ships now benefit from heavy-duty shielding systems, protecting them against would-be pirates.

  • A bespoke UI has been added when engaging capital ships in battle, to better track their overall shield and hull integrity.

  • All capital ships are now entirely destructible, offering additional rewards beyond simply eliminating their cargo pods.

  • Destroying cargo pods will apply a certain amount of damage to the freighter’s main hull.

  • Fixed an issue that could allow players to destroy small freighters without alerting the rest of the civilian fleet.

  • Fixed an issue that allowed recruitable frigates to contact the player at inappropriate times, such as while landing or during space combat.

  • Fixed an issue that caused the starship to apply brakes while flying close to a freighter during space combat.

  • Fixed an issue that could prevent landing during space combat for players who use the Auto-Follow space combat setting.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause players to lose standing if an AI pirate destroyed a civilian ship while they were present.

  • During space combat, your final weapon will never be damaged by incoming fire. In addition, combat-based technology damage will never leave the starship with rockets as their only functioning weapon.

OUTLAW FACTION

  • Outlaws are now listed as a faction alongside the various guilds, as part of the Journey and Catalogue pages.

  • A range of earnable medals have been added for the Outlaw faction.

  • Outlaw medals and standing will now earn a range of exclusive player titles.

  • Missions have been added to provide guidance for players wishing to improve their standing with these pirates.

  • Raiding civilian fleets will now improve your standing among the Outlaws.

RENDERING & PERFORMANCE

  • Nintendo Switch now supports a bespoke implementation of AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0 technology, providing high image quality and improved framerates.

  • Dynamic Resolution Scaling has been added for Nintendo Switch. This technology allows the game to maintain a consistent framerate across all scenarios.

  • Support has been added for foveated rendering when using PSVR2.

  • Utilising eye-tracking technology, foveated rendering concentrates rendering resources at the centre of your vision, sharpening and beautifying the details you focus on.

  • A number of significant rendering optimisations have been introduced for VR on all platforms.

  • Creature navigation has been optimised on all platforms.

  • A number of significant systemic optimisations have been introduced for all platforms.

  • Introduced a number of memory-usage optimisations for PS4.

  • Introduced a significant number of memory-usage optimisations for Nintendo Switch.

  • Introduced a number of systemic memory-usage optimisations for all platforms.

  • Introduced a significant optimisation for sky rendering on Nintendo Switch.

  • Improved the quality of sky rendering on Nintendo Switch while moving relative to the sky.

  • Optimised a specific asset in use on some barren planets.

  • Introduced a specific optimisation related to AI starships.

  • Introduced a specific optimisation for freighter hangers.

  • Introduced a specific optimisation for turret targeting systems.

  • Fixed a number of visual issues with fog and atmospheric rendering, particularly when in space or low-planet orbit.

  • Fixed a number of visual issues with the way depth of field effects interact with the sky.

PIRATE CAPITAL SHIPS

  • Pirate Dreadnought capital ships can now be encountered while exploring the galaxy, particularly within outlaw and high-conflict systems.

  • These huge vessels prey upon civilian fleets with a range of unique technology. Defeat them to earn significant bounty payments and large standing gains with the local lifeforms.

  • Dreadnoughts lay siege to civilian freighters with colossal heat cannons, blasting high-powered lasers over long distances. Destroying these cannons offers a way to protect the vulnerable merchants.

  • Bounty payments are significantly reduced in the event of the destruction of the civilian fleet.

  • Dreadnoughts come equipped with power deflector shields, preventing hull damage from conventional starship weapons.

  • Fly beneath Dreadnought shields and into their superstructure to target their shield generators, exposing both their hull and the delicate exposed fuel systems beneath.

  • Unique frigates form a supporting pirate battle group. These powerful ships deploy torpedoes that have the potential to wreak havoc upon the civilian fleet, and must be intercepted as a matter of priority.

  • Dealing enough damage to the Dreadnought will force it to flee. Disabling its power warp engines will prevent escape and allow you to land the killing blow.

VOYAGERS EXPEDITION

  • A brand new expedition, “Voyagers” will begin shortly after the release of the Echoes update.

  • The Voyagers expedition will see players seeking the deepest oceans, tallest mountains, most idyllic planets and strangest alien creatures, and much more besides.

  • Rewards for this voyage of discovery include a set of unique posters; an exclusive electric jetpack trail; a salvaged accessory for your creature companions; a set of new Autophage-related base parts; and brand-new mechanical companion.

OUTLAW FRIGATES

  • A new class of outlaw frigate now accompanies pirate capital ships into battle.

  • Destroying these vessels will significantly reduce the damage output of the outlaw fleet, as they are responsible for launching devastating torpedoes at opposing capital ships.

  • Once their commanding vessel has been destroyed, many frigates will surrender and offer to join your own fleet.

  • Recruit these survivors as a powerful new class of combat frigate, ready to undertake missions from your own freighter.

TWITCH DROPS

  • A new package of Twitch drops will begin shortly. Sign up and link your platform accounts on the Twitch Drops page, then tune in to Twitch to earn exotic base parts, high-tech starships, companion accessories, appearance modifications, and more.

MAC IMPROVEMENTS

  • The range of game controllers supported by No Man’s Sky on Mac has been improved.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause a shimmering outline when viewing objects against the sky on Mac.

  • Fixed an issue affecting controller rumble on Mac.

  • Fixed an issue that could prevent some keys from being rebound on Mac.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause shadows to flicker on Mac.

  • Fixed a crash related to anti-aliasing on Mac.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause the screen to go black when warping on Mac.

  • Fixed a number of visual issues with the skybox on Mac.

BUG FIXES

  • Fixed a significant number of crashes related to memory management.

  • Fixed a crash that could occur when leaving a planet’s surface and accessing the Galaxy Map.

  • Fixed a crash related to wind.

  • Fixed a rare interaction softlock.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause large sections of freighter meshes to be removed during combat.

  • Fixed an issue that prevented derelict freighter turrets from targeting players currently using a cloaking device.

  • Fixed an issue that caused other players’ weapon audio to play far too loudly in multiplayer.

  • Fixed an issue that could prevent group member’s freighters from being loaded correctly in multiplayer when first joining a session.

  • Fixed an issue that could leave players unable to take off from their freighter or the space station if their ship was damaged and using unconventional technologies, such as the living ship or sentinel interceptor.

  • Fixed an issue that caused some specific particle effects to be missing when loading a save aboard the Space Anomaly.

  • Fixed an issue that caused some dropship cockpit exit animations to play at the wrong speed.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause portals to appear active when they were not, if they had been previously activated.

  • Fixed an issue that caused terrain deposit icons to fail to highlight correctly when tagged as the primary marker in the Analysis Visor.

  • Fixed a number of rare mission issues that could occur when target NPCs or buildings were in distant systems.

  • Fixed a number of base NPC mission issues that could occur when joining multiplayer games.

  • Fixed a rare mission blocker that could occur in the Living Ship missions after participating in a multiplayer session.

  • Fixed a rare issue that could cause the mission or Atlas paths to go missing on the Galaxy Map.

  • Fixed a rare blocker for the Trace of Metal and/or Artemis missions if both missions required speaking to Nada or Polo at the same time.

  • Fixed a number of issues that prevented buildings from being correctly marked as visited, allowing later missions or charts to direct players to sites they had already explored.

  • Fixed an issue that prevented crashed ship sites from being flagged as visited, causing players to occasionally be directed to crash sites without ships.

  • Fixed an issue that caused two instances of the crashed freighter salvage mission to be started when visiting a crashed freighter.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause the crashed freighter salvage mission to shut down early.

  • Fixed an issue that caused Cadium to refine to Chromatic Metal in the wrong ratio.

  • Fixed an issue that prevented supercharged inventory slots from being correctly displayed in a newly purchased freighter’s inventory until the game was reloaded.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause frigates to fully repair themselves when teleporting aboard.

  • Fixed a number of text issues with missions that required use of a refiner.

  • Fixed an issue that caused text clipping on the refiner page in some resolutions.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause the catalogue mission that guides players towards basalt to pick a planet without any basalt.

  • Fixed an issue with various catalogue and journey guidance missions that caused them to display an Objective Complete notification as soon as they started.

  • Fixed a rare issue with some pinning missions that caused the current amount / required amount numbers to be displayed the wrong way around.

  • Fixed an issue where the wrong item amount could be suggested in the description text in tech installation popups.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause Sentinel Interceptors to fail to display their full serial number as part of their name.

  • Fixed an issue that caused untranslated text to appear when attempting to switch ships while aboard another player’s freighter.

  • Fixed an issue that caused the number of pages/dots to be calculated incorrectly when looking at crafting lists or inventory transfer popups.

  • Fixed an issue that caused the dots to overflow when looking at shops with extremely large arrays of items, such as the Twitch or Expedition Rewards sections at the Quicksilver Synthesis Companion.

  • Fixed an issue that could allow text to overflow rather than scroll in some Expedition Milestone popups.

  • Fixed an issue that incorrectly suggested players could craft more than one item at a time when viewing crafting steps in the tree format.

  • Fixed an issue that caused the camera to still automatically adjust to slopes when the Camera Movement option was set to manual.

  • Fixed an issue that allowed the Multi-Tool to overheat too early while the mining bonus from extreme cold storms was applied.

  • The large artefact crates found at buried ruins no longer report themselves as damaged technology in need for repair, and instead suggest that they be unlocked with a key.