It's really difficult to mess up so badly inthat you would ever need to start over fresh.
Didn't explore enough on your starting planet? There are 17.99999 quintillion others to explore. Left your ship in a place that seems unreachable? Reach a shelter, craft a Bypass Chip and call it using one of the terminals at a landing pad. Missed the ticket onto the Atlas Pass? Find a space anomaly or Atlas Interface and hop aboard.
If, however, you have gotten on the wrong side of the Vy'keen or screwed up so royally that you're better off throwing away dozens of hours of play time rather than spending a few more rectifying the problem, never fear, there is a way to restart the game.
Starting over in No Man's Sky
You may notice that starting over isn't even an option in the No Man's Sky game menu. There isn't a way to start over or a way to play with two separate characters. When you open the game, after a short loading screen, you're back where you left off last -- straight into game play.
In fact, the most you can do in-game is load your two most recent saves.
If you're playing on PS4, the process is the same as with deleting save files for any other game.
In the XrossMediaBar interface, go to Settings > Application Saved Data Management > Saved Data in System Storage > Delete. Locate and select No Man's Sky and follow the prompts to delete the game saves. When you open the game again, it should load as if you've just started the game.
On PC and Steam
If you're playing No Man's Sky on PC, this process from YouTube channel How To Do Stuff is a little more involved. However, unlike with PS4, you have the option to create a backup of your game save. So if anything goes awry, you can restore the original and resume playing from your furthest point.
Start by closing out of No Man's Sky. Next, in your Steam library, right-click on No Man's Sky and select Properties. Under the Updates tab, un-check Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for No Man's Sky.
Next, press Win + R to open the Run application. In the field beside Open, type %appdata% and click OK. Within the directory that is opened, locate and open HelloGames and open the folder NMS. The folder inside this directory will look something like st_XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Delete this file or move it to a safe place (in case you want to restore the save later).
When you start the game again, you will start over, stranded on a random planet in a random planetary system with busted equipment and a broken ship.
Restoring an old save on PC
One advantage of running the PC version of this game is the ability to restore a save file after you've deleted it. If you decide you don't actually want to start over, there are two ways to restore your original save file to the game. With No Man's Sky closed:
- Re-checking the box beside Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for No Man's Sky and Steam will ask if you want to use your local save (the new one) or restore the cloud backup (your original save) when you launch the game.
- Replace the newly generated st_XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX folder with the one you made a copy of in the C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\HelloGames\NMS directory.
Additionally, you can use this workaround to have multiple characters in the game. Or, if more than one person uses the computer No Man's Sky is installed on, you can swap out the game save folders before launching the game to load different user save states without having to have two separate Steam accounts.
Hopefully, Hello Games will add these features into the game in the future. Until then, these workarounds are the best you're going to get.