Things have been very peculiar in the world of No Man's Sky recently, with the game's community currently embroiled in a convoluted ARG - all in the name of...well, who can really say for sure? We might finally have a clue as to where all this is leading, however: thanks to a video released this weekend, fans are speculating that a long-awaited multiplayer mode may finally be coming to No Man's Sky soon.
Of course, this being No Man's Sky and all, it's probably best to temper expectations somewhat, lest we find ourselves riding the towering hype train all the way back down to the rocky shores of disappointment once more. So, with your reality suitably checked, here's where we are now.
Waking Titan, an ongoing ARG that's been repeatedly linked with No Man's Sky, appeared to reached some kind of finality over the weekend, when users registered to its website received an email pointing toward an upcoming Twitch stream. That stream has now happened and, as if the connection wasn't solid enough already, all the video's chatter of 'Atlas' and 'Atlas Passes' (both recurring elements in No Man's Sky) should conclusively proved the two are intertwined.
There's a lot of blather in the enigmatic video, but the key takeaway points are that 10,000 applicants will soon be receiving a "Level 4 Atlas Pass" (currently, Atlas Passes only go up to Level 3 in No Man's Sky), and will be invited to move onto the next stage of whatever the hell is going on here, with that whatever the hell apparently beginning on July 21st.
As the video puts it, those selected to participate in the "Atlas Foundation's Citizen's Science Division", will be required to perform "very specific tasks [...] individually and collectively" from July 21st. In order to qualify for their Level 4 Atlas Pass, however, applicants will be required to complete some kind of questionnaire, testing their suitability for the next stage.
All this, of course, sounds suspiciously like a fancied-up way of saying 'closed beta'. Which in turn has led fans to wonder: why does No Man's Sky, a game that's been out for almost a year, require a closed beta? And what, prey tell, might it involve? The general consensus, it seems, is that all this could be leading to the long-awaited arrival of multiplayer in the game's 1.3 update - which, judging by this mysterious "internal memo", should appear in August, around No Man's Sky first birthday.
The memo, signed by a slightly-less-mysterious "S.M.", notes that, "We intend to keep the process alive until the completion of Project Waking Titan in August. It is important to mention that we are very excited by the coming Phases 2 and 3. Input from the Mercury Subroutine will pave the way toward new experiences in version 1.3 of a familiar universe."
Of course, all this could just as easily be leading up to the release of a ten minute video featuring Sean Murray pretending to be an aeroplane and making pfffttthhhhththtppfff noises into the camera. You honestly just never know.
For what it's worth, I think No Man's Sky is great in a sort of casual-intergalactic-ambling-simulator way, and perfect for those moments when you'd just like to look at pretty things and have nice stuff happening in your ears. As such, I'm excited to see where the game—which has already seen a host of major improvements since release—goes next. We'll have more news as it occurs.