No Man’s Sky gives players multiple paths to follow if they want to shake up their space exploration experience. One of those paths follows Atlas, a mysterious cosmic entity who holds vast knowledge and controls the Sentinels that you see throughout the game. It’s unclear what this being is at the beginning of the game, but if you decide to follow its guidance, that secret will be revealed.
The path of Atlas follows a route that diverges away from the path to No Man’s Sky’s center and provides some narrative meat to the free-flowing nature of the game. As you progress down this path, you’ll meet Atlas in its many forms and each time you encounter it, you’ll have to make a choice: do you continue to be used by this powerful entity or do you call it quits and walk away? If you choose to agree and continue (there’s a different term used each time), you will once again make your way to see that weird orb in another location.
There are numerous encounters; each one grants you knowledge, direction, and an Atlas Stone. Those stones can be sold for a hefty sum of Units, but if you hold onto them, you can get the path’s true ending upon your final meeting. Now this is when you have to make a choice. Do you finish what you started or do you walk away?
If you choose to get the true Atlas ending, you will help birth a new star from which springs a new galaxy. The character you play as can travel there and then be lifted to a new plane of existence as you awake yet again on some planet. You’re stranded just like you were when you first booted up No Man’s Sky, but you have all of your accrued knowledge and upgrades still available (though you still need to repair your ship).
It’s a sort of New Game Plus where you have more knowledge of the universe and the firepower needed to keep you going. For some, this will be what helps them reach the Center of the universe, for others it will be a time to reflect.
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