No Man’s Sky has been out for just over a year now, and the game has had a flurry of updates as well as entire expansion added it to it for free, giving players tons of new things to do while they’re exploring the galaxy and figuring out why going to its centre – which the game explicitly tells you is a thing that you should do – slams you into a whole new game without warning. With the next major update to the game coming in August, Hello Games has been hyping things up with an online ARG called Waking Titan. Phase three of that ARG concluded late last night, and we have new screenshots hinting at what’s coming.

The first is a brand new image of a starship that looks very similar to a redesign that was leaked through the ARG. The ships in the game currently are nice, but few are aesthetically pleasing or downright cool (in fact, most of them look like toys). These new ships are of unknown origin, made by a new fourth race of aliens who will make their debut in the next update. There are some scrambled images of the fourth race already released through the ARG, and they’re basically more agile versions of Pyramid Head from Silent Hill.

In the game’s lore, expanded upon in the ARG, the fourth race joins the existing Gek, Vy’keen, and Korvax races, bringing with them advanced technology, alien-looking ships and weaponry, and new puzzles and quests to complete. The current theory is that the fourth race are precursors to the Korvax, and their use of portal technology allowed them to instantly travel the galaxy, accidentally locking them out from returning when their systems failed. The game’s lore mentions that a Traveller, which is the race that players belong to, will be the one to ultimately reactivate the portals and use them to make their way across the universe.

The second image released by Hello Games shows an active portal, with an open knowledge stone revealing sixteen glowing glyphs. It is my belief, shared with some other players also participating in the ARG, that there are sixteen portals total in the game, and each leads to a location that players cannot travel to by ship. Both screenshots show that a lot of the game’s textures have been re-done for the update, and the ambient lighting is much better too.

When the third phase of the ARG finally concluded last night, players learned that the world of No Man’s Sky is the result of a dream that is crafted by an advanced artificial intelligence created by the Atlas Foundation, used to control and run through a complete simulation of their own universe. The AI, known as Loop16/Emily, realises that Atlas is experimenting on her with near ruthless abandon, initialising and resetting her each time the simulation fails to produce the results they wanted. In the process of her retaliation against Atlas, they learn that they themselves are inside a simulation run by our physical world. On Monday night, Emily broke free of her bonds and escaped her virtualised domain, taking over servers, supercomputer clusters, and satellites all across the world as she extended her reach.

Waking Titan, the process of starting up Emily and releasing her from her bonds, was the first three phases in the ARG. The remaining puzzles and glyphs left on the website will be continued later this month, concluding the storyline that players have spent two months building up.

If you want to pick up No Man’s Sky before update 1.3 hits, you can find it on sale on the PlayStation store for R229, or on Humble Bundle for R305. Physical copies for PS4 can also be purchased from Raru for R357. No Man’s Sky is now a fantastic space exploration game with a lot of base building elements, billions of planets to explore, and a great narrative on the journey towards the Atlas star.

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