In 2013, the first trailer for No Man’s Sky showed off a lot of things people got very excited for. Some of those things were in the base game, others were added later. But one feature shown in that trailer never materialised in the release version of the game – gigantic sand worm/snake creatures that burrowed into the ground. That wait is now over. In 2020, No Man’s Sky finally adds giant sand worms, and we got creator Sean Murray to tell us why they didn’t make it into the game, and why they’re being added now.
In an interview ahead of the release of the new Origins update – the trailer for which includes a grand entrance for the game’s new creature type – Murray explained that there was a very simple reason for why giant sand worms had never made it into the game until now: “This is a very boring story when people asked me about it. They weren’t that fun.
“It sounds fun, right? Fundamentally, it works really well in a trailer, and it’s a cool thing, and it’s cool when you see it, but if you play the game for a hundred hours and you’ve got your save that you really care about, it’s really annoying to be randomly killed by a sand worm that just appears, right? I mean the people who hunt for Spice in Dune or whatever, they know this pain. Lots of random death in that world. So we sidelined those. They were just never fun enough.”
Among a myriad of other updates and changes that needed to be made, giant sand worms weren’t quite the priority for the Hello Games team – but Origins’ focus on adding depth and variety to the game’s existing galaxy offered a new opportunity to make them a priority. Murray explains how they solved the slimy problem of making giant worms fun:
“I think now – and it is something that we revisited a couple of times – we found a way to make them play well with the game, to signpost themselves well, and to fit the environment around them so that it feels, hopefully, fun and in keeping with the rest of the game. Some of these things just take time for them to bubble up to be the priority.”
Murray’s clearly very pleased to finally be able to cross off that player request after almost 7 years: “Each time we do an update, there’s one of these major things that we get to cross the check box off. I don’t think we’re quite done yet, but we go up to the board, and we X another one out.”
The key, it seems, is balance, with the dev team making changes they think need to be made alongside adding features the audience is asking for:
“We often have key things that we’re doing that we know no one is asking for, but we feel are fundamentally important for the game”, explains Murray. “So this time round, we’ve revisited the UI and changed it visually and also tightened it up to make it flow nicer. People weren’t generally asking for that, but I think it has a real impact on the game and fundamentally just helps how the game plays. You spend a lot of time in and out of the UI. So for me, that adds a lot of freshness, but there’s stuff like that.
“There is also stuff that it is really fun to work on when you know the community are going to love it. Sand worms are one of those. Hopefully, people are going to play and really enjoy them […] It is a big motivating factor for us. It’s really nice to be working on something and thinking, this is going to really please some people.” I know I’m pleased, for one.
Giant Sand Worms are just one of many, many changes brought to No Man’s Sky in the Origins update, which ups the variety on show on planets, adding new terrain types, weather effects, and even spawning entirely new worlds to discover and explore. The free update is out today.
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Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to email@example.com.
Source: IGN Video Games All