After years of requests, No Man’s Sky is coming to VR this Summer. With a massive procedurally generated galaxy to explore and a range of ways to play, the scale of No Man’s Sky is something that hasn’t yet been seen in VR, while the ability to play with both VR and non-VR friends means there will be no shortage of people to explore with. I recently got to play No Man’s Sky in VR for the first time a came away with a feeling of immense possibilities in its huge world.

No Man’s Sky was a hugely polarizing game when it launched back in 2016. It was a game with massive ambition—an entire galaxy to explore with unique planets playing host to unique geography, plants, animals, and things to do. When the game launched though, there was a sense that developer Hello Games had promised more than they delivered, and reviews were mixed, to say the least.

Following the launch, the studio resolved to deliver a string of free updates to add features and bring more variety to the game. With new features like base building, new biomes, new mission types, multiplayer, and much more coming in the years since launch, the game has seen increasingly positive reviews from players.

Hello Games is currently in the process of developing its next major update, ‘Beyond’, which is planned for release this Summer. Beyond will include VR support for No Man’s Sky on Steam (Vive and Rift) and PSVR. It will also bring “radical new social and multiplayer” capabilities which “empowers players everywhere in the universe to meet and play together;” though the studio hasn’t detailed exactly what that all means just yet.

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Hello Games says that VR support for No Man’s Sky is comprehensive, and VR players should expect to be able to do anything and everything that non-VR players can do. VR players and non-VR players can also play together, which is key because No Man’s Sky is sure to have a lasting player population that’s not dependent on VR users alone.

I recently experienced No Man’s Sky in VR using a Vive Pro for the first time. I was dropped onto a planet, and starred out as a vast desert landscape in front of me. Both of my hands were there in front of me, tracked by the Vive controllers as I’d expect from any native VR game. I was introduced to the game’s locomotion—which supports both teleportation and free-locomotion—and its controls, which allowed me to equip my Multi-tool and use functions like the Terrain Manipulator which can materialize walls of rock or dig a tunnel below my feet, all controlled with the movements of my controller.

The game’s interface, where you manage your inventory and more, appears as a floating window in front of you, and input is driven by a laser pointer that comes from your hand. Aside from being able to aim tools easily with motion input, the controls and interface for No Man’s Sky VR feel quite clunky at this pre-release stage. The team at Hello Games warned that they haven’t spent much time on the controls for the Vive wands specifically just yet, but they expect to make this much smoother ahead of the Summer launch of the VR feature. The studio has said that they’re working to make the VR addition to the game feel like “a true VR experience rather than a port.”

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Flying, however, was smooth and intuitive. I was able to hop into my Starship with a ‘point-and-pull’ gesture toward the ship which made me appear inside of the cockpit. Once inside, a virtual stick and throttle were waiting for me to grab. As I pushed the throttle forward my ship lifted off from the surface and I was able to easily skim across the planet.

From there I went nose-up to gain altitude and eventually pulled out of the planet’s atmosphere entirely; I looked out the side of my canopy and saw the planet grow ever more round before becoming a sphere behind me, which felt a little bit magical in VR.

Not far from the planet was a series of asteroids on which I got to test out my ship’s cannons. From there I made a Pulse Jump—a high speed leap for in-system travel—to a distant space station where I docked and hopped out of my ship. As I turned to look down the long tunnel from where I had flown in, I saw the opening terminate into a void of space, and in that moment I felt like there was a galaxy full of possibilities staring back at me.

The big question, I expect, is whether VR will add enough to No Man’s Sky that players will opt for the headset instead of the screen. VR is immersive, and often amazing, but it’s also still clunky, not nearly as high res as your monitor, and not as comfortable as not wearing something on your head. For VR to be more than a novelty in No Man’s Sky, it’ll need to bring enough to the game that players are willing to overcome that friction each time they play.

In my time in No Man’s Sky VR, I didn’t get the chance to play with anyone else, but it feels like exploring the game’s vast sandbox with friends is going to be a key allure. It isn’t clear how the upcoming No Man’s Sky ‘Online’ feature—which will launch at the same time as VR support—will change the game’s multiplayer functionality, but our understanding is that, presently, up to four players can play together at once in the same party, and it’s possible to see other players roaming around in the same place if you happen to cross paths.

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While I was comfortable throughout my time playing, including while flying, I’m still curious to know if all aspects of the game will be widely comfortable. No Man’s Sky includes more means of locomotion like ground vehicles and swimming, which weren’t initially designed for VR. We don’t yet have many specifics on what comfort options will be available to VR players, so we’ll have to wait and see as we get closer to the update.

After playing No Man’s Sky in VR, I also got to speak briefly with Hello Games founder Sean Murray about the project. He told me that there’s a dedicated team in the studio that’s working on the VR features, and said that he’s personally a VR enthusiast who has been following developments in the industry for some time.

Murray also confirmed that players who already own No Man’s Sky will be able to play their existing saves seamlessly in VR. He also said that, as of now, the studio hasn’t added a way to uniquely identify VR players from non-VR players in the game from a visual standpoint, except that the arms of VR players will be animated by their motion controllers.

And while the studio is confirming support for No Man’s Sky VR on Steam (for the Vive and Rift), and PSVR, Murray wasn’t ready to say whether or not the Steam version would also officially support Windows VR headsets.

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  • JesuSaveSouls

    I look forward to finally playing this in vr.

    • jj

      Christianity doesnt have room for extraterrestrial beings, so its a sin fro you to play this and now you’re going to hell like the rest of us.

      • 3872Orcs

        For once he did not pull religion in to this so I’ll give him credit for sticking to the topic. I suggest you do the same.

        • jj

          Nah, hes still shit posting on the other threads, I’m not going to reward him for doing what everyone else does. but if he really starts to change then of course id stop

      • Raphael

        I have a friend named Jesus who collects stamps.

      • Grey Lock

        Ok, I’m sure there is some cult out there that believes that, but man they must be some weird folk.
        That said, the Christian majority has no such crazy anti-alien slant. Can’t speak for Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists or Agnostics, but Christians have no issues with the possibility of Aliens existing.

      • AutomaticPython_106
        • jj

          Oh buddy, do I have to be the one to break it you and tell you I was just making a joke and don’t give a shit about knowing if Christians believe in aliens or not?

          Ever since your popes believed in touching little boy’s dinklewomps, which has been quit some time now, people should have been disregarding what you guys think.

    • gothicvillas

      Thanks for the meaningful comment! You are getting there :) I give you a like

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  • Puddles

    The menu system always feels like separate parts done by different people then just thrown in to the game, there’s like 4 different menu systems which work differently. I hope they redo that so it’s simpler to use.

  • 3872Orcs

    Sweet! And double sweet that it launches around the same time as valve Index and Knuckles! I don’t expect the game to have all the features of the knuckles like the finger tracking of course but it will be very nice to get away from those damn Vive wands of mine.

    And for a very long time now I’ve wanted to play Subnautica with my best friend in VR but we never could do that. Now we can! In No Man’s Sky! It truly is fantastic!

  • Raphael

    Purchased this game at 60% off a few days ago. Amazed at how interesting the gameplay is especially after the tedium of endless jumps in Elite Dangerous. Normally I don’t play any PC game outside of VR but No Man’s Pie is so good it’s hard to stop.

    • Grey Lock

      Until Elite’s update in 2020…? Hopefully NMS ship controls will get tweaked – I like EDs a lot more.

      • Pablo C

        They are very different games, ED is more like a sym, NMS is completely arcade.

  • disviq

    finally, with VR coming, I bought it. Otherwise it would probably rest forever on my wishlist, along with other games that just became outdated…

    • Justos

      lmao same. i got at least 4 emails saying an item on my wishlist was on sale. this announcement got me to pull the trigger and im 22 hours into it now. love it!

  • Gonzax

    This could be really amazing in VR, another big surprise like Subnautica, which was also fantastic in VR. Really looking forward to this.

    • Grey Lock

      I wish Subnautica had co-op :-(

      • doug

        I wish it supported tracked motion controllers.

        • antonio mora

          err… it does.

          • doug

            Subnautica store page: “The VR mode for this game requires the use of a gamepad or a keyboard and mouse.”

          • antonio mora

            Oh, lol. Don’t listen to steam their info in that regard is very inaccurate to say the least. I have the game and is touch compatible, you’ll be fine.

          • Rob H

            Are you using a mod or something then as the game flat out doesn’t support tracked motion controllers and the devs admitted its not something theyre going to be working on for a long time if ever? If so, what mod? I’d be interested in it as couldn’t stand subnatica in VR in its current state due to its horrible support.

          • antonio mora

            Sorry I meant as a gamepad, my bad.

          • Pablo C

            Same here, can you give us evidence of the touch support?

          • PJ

            It doesn’t, it treats the Touch Controlers like a game pad

  • Lucidfeuer

    I got bored of NMS pretty quickly especially since I was mainly interested but disappointed by the environnement and narrative aspect.

    But having already tried NMS with VorpX I can’t wait to see their actual implementation AND please let’s take time to note the fact that this is a “VR support/implementation” a not a bullshit separated edition of the same game, which was always a stretch of greedy tactic…

  • I’m glad it is coming to VR!

  • Rosko

    If successful hopefully will encourage other popular games to create a vr version.

  • LowRezSkyline

    I find games that require me to stand around and not move much, or sit, to be super uncomfortable to play for more than a short period of time, which kind of invalidates the whole thing.

    Do others find these kinds of games – aka games that are slower, more cerebral – worthwhile to play in VR? Just wondering, because for me my VR gaming has settled into an action-y workout type of thing heavy on room-scale games with a lot of movement, and almost no standing around or anything like that.

    OR do most just sit when playing this type of game?

    • Andrew McEvoy

      Personally I find the standing playstyle to be more immersive than sitting even when using motion controllers and would prefer a shorter hour or two experience than a longer 4 or so hour seated experience.

      So for this I’ll play while standing. Id much rather a larger play space at home and some wireless VR having said that. Sounds like you have an awesome set up!

    • david vincent

      I found that HMDs with “ski goggles” design are even more uncomfortable when I stand still (l can’t watch a full movie in VR). On another hand, I can play ‘Eleven Table Tennis’ for hours…

  • VR4EVER

    Man those gifs are mouthwatering! Cant wait to dive back into the world of NMS. Outstanding update from Hello Games, chapeau!

  • Grey Lock

    I’m a huge fan of Elite Dangerous in VR, and NMS is a lot of fun, so I truly can’t wait to walk around alien planets in VR!!!

  • kool

    I hope it supports aim and ds4 I can’t stand move controls!

    • Some Unkown Human

      i heard it does support ds4

      • kool

        It does, buy I meant both together. So you can use the aim for shooting n the ds4 for flying…just like in real life!

  • Wish I had an inside-track to contacting the company. I’d like to mention two words:

    Climbing Mechanics.

  • “Hello Games says that VR support for No Man’s Sky is comprehensive, and VR players should expect to be able to do anything and everything that non-VR players can do. VR players and non-VR players can also play together, which is key because No Man’s Sky is sure to have a lasting player population that’s not dependent on VR users alone.” this right here is what more devs need to do make their games so that people in and out of vr can play together..

  • PRGuy69

    QUESTION: Do other players see you moving your arms/rotating your head etc?

    • david vincent

      it’s in the article :

      He also said that, as of now, the studio hasn’t added a way to uniquely identify VR players from non-VR players in the game from a visual standpoint, except that the arms of VR players will be animated by their motion controllers.

      • PRGuy69

        Nice thanks. Yeah I didn’t read the whole thing I have a low attention span.

  • david vincent

    “I’m still curious to know if all aspects of the game will be widely comfortable”
    At least the VR view on board of ground vehicles is fixed to horizon, which is the most comfortable option.