Things are different in the No Man’s Sky galaxy lately. One intrepid explorer was moving from resource to resource, picking up oxygen, ferrite dust, and carbon from the plants and rocks around him … when he noticed that the local fauna nearby was being swept up into the air.
“I thought it was a glitch at first,” wrote JC Hysteria, a No Man’s Sky player who responded to Polygon via Twitter. Upon realizing it was actually a giant tornado, he “jumped in immediately after.”
JC Hysteria has been playing No Man’s Sky for over three years now, and he says that the tornado was one of his most unique experiences in a long time — especially since he saw it through the lens of VR. But tornadoes, and radical storms, are now just a part of life in No Man’s Sky after the Origins update. Exploring new worlds is now often marked by sandworms exploding out of the soil and arcing through the air, violent volcanoes erupting, and tornados whipping about.
Storms are no longer just blurry, shield-draining messes to avoid — they’re something to admire, even though they remain deadly.
Whereas the sandworms are harmless and leave no trace in their wake, the storms have a more lasting effect as they drain players’ protective shields. These conditions can also overlap: A furious blizzard can also manifest a tornado, creating a dangerous situation that can kill hapless explorers. Some players have reported being blinded by snow flurries, or astounded by lightning storms. Others are trying to track tornadoes and capture the best possible footage.
Storms and extreme conditions have been in No Man’s Sky since launch, but they were previously more of a gameplay obstacle without much visual flair. Extreme dust storms or heavy winds would move in, the player’s vision would be obstructed, and the best thing to do was to wait the storm out in a shelter or spaceship. Eventually, the air would settle, and players could emerge and move on.
Now, many players are rushing toward storms, trying to get good footage and photos. Others are surprised in the wild by a sudden extreme weather change or storm. A Reddit user, mfox4904, shared his experience on the No Man’s Sky subreddit, saying: “It was a temperate planet during a superheated rainstorm. All of a sudden I hear ‘Warning: extreme wind event’ and I was like ‘wut’ and then I’m getting thrown into the sky.”
Veteran players are inspired by the new storms and weather events; they change the game, and the unique experience of being swept up in heavy winds or witnessing a mass of storm clouds and lightning, are the spice that makes exploration worth the waiting and downtime. “Storms (and new landscapes) are definitely something I’ve gone out of my way to search for,” wrote JC Hysteria, who has racked up hundreds of hours in the game. “This update brought a new life to the game. It’s perfect for both explorers and builders alike.”
Other players have experienced storms that are outside the norm, and are filming them in an attempt to determine whether this is an intended feature or simply a trippy bug.
What makes these storms even more intriguing is that they’re impossible to predict. Players are still trying to find the ways to find the best (and most photogenic) storms. JC Hysteria says he’s been setting up camps on planets and waiting for a storm to roll in, just to see how it unfolds: “I’ve been landing on planets checking the weather type to see if the planet is noted for ‘extreme. storms. If so, I’ll stay and wait for the storm to see if it has something new to offer.”
There’s another appeal to storms and weather events — they’re temporary. If one player finds a planet with pretty grass, cool bubbles, or a gorgeous sky, anyone can go explore it. But a sudden storm is an organic event that can’t be replicated easily. It feels more personal, and any photos or footage feel more hard won. It can require searching and waiting, but some No Man’s Sky players are fine with that sacrifice as long as there’s a new storm to chase.