Benjamin Kratsch wrote an article for Redbull sometime around March 2016 after his experience of playing the game. It was certainly not the game we got in August that year.
A few links to his work:
In the AMA he talks about owning a freighter, something that wasn’t possible at release (wasn’t possible until the Pathfinder update released). I got the impression freighters moved in this build too.
Throughout his work he talks about the fauna AI being very different from what we have now, it sounds like there is much more interaction between other fauna and the environment. This could possibly be the AI improvement we get in NEXT:
“I was on a dessert planet and followed a two meter sized guy, that looked like an Ewok from Star Wars. He was walking around and looked unhappy. When he found a river though, he made a little dance and took a bath. It’s these little things, that make the game unique.”
Survival sounds much more difficult, he described it as “fairly brutal”. There was some mechanic where you had to calculate fuel costs to jump between systems to profit from trading. Portals worked and the method to operate them was different. Learning languages gets you “better prices for modules and upgrades and you can even forge a trading alliance with races like the Kovax”. The walker type sentinels gathered resources on planets. You could also see your PSN friends on the galactic map, although it is quite clear the game was not intended to have a typical multiplayer.
It’s an interesting account of playing an old build. It would seem like many mechanics were created during development then stripped from the game before release. But to see an outsiders account of playing that old build, i think, shows Sean didn’t lie about the game. Just the reason for stripping the game before release is unknown.