Partially leaked before its official announcement, Hello Games has added the first semblances of multiplayer to their procedurally generated space explorer in their latest patch.
The announced, dubbed "Atlas Rises", marks the first anniversary of the indie game and is a stepping stone to adding full multiplayer into No Man's Sky. As described by Hello Games, the patch will allow up to 16 players to jointly explore planets with voice chat, although the players will only be visualised by "strange floating orbs" and interaction between players will be very limited:
Visualised by strange floating orbs, up to 16 players can see and communicate with one another, and explore the universe together. While interaction with others is currently very limited, this is an important first step into the world of synchronous co-op in No Man’s Sky. While interaction is very limited, VOIP (Voice over IP) allows proximity based voice chat with other nearby explorers. Use portals to quickly travel to more populated planets, or to meet up with friends.
Another major inclusion for the patch is the fleshing out of the game's story mode. "Our story brings a new context, quest system and branching narrative to No Man’s Sky," Hello Games wrote, saying that the content capped out at around 30 hours, double the amount of lore and interactions in the original game.
The update also introduces an improved analysis visor, a new mission system with procedurally generated quests along with NPC guilds and standing amongst factions, crashed freighters on some planetary surfaces, and more fleshed out galaxies:
The full list of improvements can be read on the official page here.