No Man’s Sky - What are Portals and How to Activate Them

No Man’s Sky - What are Portals and How to Activate Them

By James on 11 August 2016 | no mans sky

Since the early E3 gameplay trailers, Sean has teased us with the premise of Portals in No Man's Sky. Now that the game is out in the wild, many of you will have stumbled upon these ancient looking beacons and no doubt will have wondered what they are for and how to activate them.

Where do you find portals?

Take a quick look at the image above and you'll have a pretty good understanding what portals look like and where they exist in No Man's Sky. They're ancient looking, massive stone pillars that stand out like a sore thumb in the landscape.

Unlike black holes, these portals are rooted firmly to a planet's surface, much like a gateway or door to another location in space and time. There's one particular feature that's evident on the front of all portals and that's the entrance. Below the entrance lies a large platform with many smaller pillars leading up to it.

Portal example

Using your scanner tool or binoculars you can highlight the location of Portals (if you're lucky to find one). Standing beside a portal will lower your weapon and ambient music starts to play.

Some players have also speculated that standing in front of a portal negates any aggressive animals in the vicinity - this is unproven though.

How do portals work?

Active portal

Back in 2014 we got a glimpse of the portal trailer which showed that players could travel through a portal, travelling instantly to another planet, possibly in a completely different system. Like Black Holes, the player simply has to head straight through the portal to instantly teleport to another location. In doing so the player left their ship behind and any associated resources - how would they get back?

It makes sense that portals can be used in reverse or they come in pairs. If you wanted to travel back to your previous planet you would either: re-enter the portal which is directly connected one-to-one with another planet; or simply use the exit portal in a similar fashion. This is all guesswork since the trailer was too short to show the re-entry gameplay.

How to active them?

Currently we don't know how to activate Portals - we only know from Sean's commentary that Portals are a major puzzle in No Man's Sky. Players will have to work together to solve this little puzzle and understand what conditions, resources and mechanics are required to actually activate and open a particular portal.

When a portal is active, the circular area at the base of the main pillar will start to rotate to signify that its ready to use

Many gamers have already tried to collect Atlas Stones in an attempt to trigger the portal to open - no luck there. Others have speculated and proven that time of day plays no part in solving the portal puzzle. The only small clue we have so far is that the collectible rare orbs may relate to portals in some way and that together with the planets orientation, we may have to wait until the two ends of a portal are aligned.

Once we do know how to activate Portals I will of course update the section below.


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