Original article, 8/9/17:
Hello Games announced that No Man's Sky version 1.3 will introduce fast travel via portals and will improve the game's story. The update, which the company is calling "Atlas Rises," will be released sometime this week as a free expansion for No Man's Sky players on PC and PlayStation 4.
Details about the Atlas Rises update were scarce—Hello Games said only that the update "focuses on improving the central story of No Man’s Sky and adds the ability to quick travel between locations using portals." Full patch notes are set to be published "shortly before the update goes live. The company focused more on an alternate reality game (ARG) called Waking Titan that ran intermittently from May 28 to August 7. It said:
In the last eight weeks a quarter of a million players from across the globe (174 countries, to be precise!) have come together – united by a shared love of mystery and science fiction – to form the Citizen Science Division. You’ve travelled great distances both real and virtual, undertaken complex tasks, and explored the depths of simulation theory. New friendships have been forged, and a tight-knit community has been created. Most importantly a cute hamster has a new home.
No Man's Sky debuted in August 2016 with the goal of allowing its players to explore 18 quintillion planets. Those planets were mostly procedurally generated, so each of them was supposed to be unique, but players quickly discovered that the game didn't have nearly as much variety as it claimed. People also complained about bugs, core gameplay issues, and Hello Games' inability to deliver on pre-release promises.
Hello Games released numerous updates to fix some of the problems with No Man's Sky. November 2016 saw the release of the Foundation Update, which introduced new difficulty levels, the ability to build your own base, and other new features. The Path Finder update followed in March with visual upgrades and new vehicle features, among other things, to continue building on top of the Foundation Update.
Waking Titan and the resulting Citizen Science Division community show that No Man's Sky still has its admirers despite its shortcomings. A quarter of a million people is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you think most people might not be interested in an ARG, considering the many complaints levied against No Man's Sky. Maybe the Atlas Rises update will continue to build on the promise of rollicking adventures in space.