If anyone hasn’t been following NMS, this update was preceded by an ARG titled, “Waking Titan,” that was developed by Alice & Smith and was meant to re-engage the community. The ARG was really exciting and hard to describe because of how complex it was. You can read up on it here, https://wiki.gamedetectives.net/index.php?title=Waking_Titan/Phase_1
It started with cassette tapes that were sent to the mods of the NMS Reddit communities. When analyzed, the audio’s wavelengths revealed code which decrytped into the phrase, “portals.” At this time the Waking Titan ARG was thought to be separate from the NMS ARG. There was some similar themes and neither devs would deny they were connected though. This caused some arguing and controversy in the community and even brought back some of the more abusive folks that had left. They thought that people they were stupid for thinking they were connected and the ARG dev was trying to piggyback off of NMS’s community.
During the ARG, they had a NPC moderating a forum to guide us and she even made videos that summarized what had happened as the ARG went on. Then her account went silent and everyone began to worry. Spoiler, it was later revealed her, “echo” or consciousness was uploaded onto a server to become a sentient AI of sorts and later went on to modify the simulation (NMS). We all knew she was an NPC but just thought she was a mod working for the devs, not part of the story. Which made her disappearance confusing and now that I look back on it, brilliant.
The whole thing was really fun and ended with a live twitch stream of a hamster and the activation of a sentient AI.
I thought it was a brilliant way for Hello Games to interact with the community. After launch they had received death threats and put their heads down and got to work. Innes McKendrick, a Hello Games dev, gave a talk at GDC, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R7bNjH6aKk&t=8m41s about the abuse and how he is potentially making the game better for the same people who abused him.
The whole NMS story like a study in human psychology. It’s fascinating to watch that community. The update launched yesterday and people started writing negative reviews without playing the update. A number of people who claimed HG would never work on the game and that the devs were scammers have admitted to re-buying the game and apologizing.