Well that has always been the case (re optimised code), you just have to watch youtube streams of the PS4 version vs the PC version and you can see the PS4 is smoother. But they did change the texture ‘size’/detail in Pathfinder, as in increase it’s demands.
I kept separate installs of each update (so i have three installs of NMS), in part because i developed some mods for the game and wanted to keep my versions working across updates, but also because i wanted to keep an eye on what changed in the game and be able to carry on playing my old saves in their original state.
My PC is pretty humble as ‘gaming’ rigs go, and my 2GB GTX 750 Ti never ‘flew’ with the game, in the original version i could get about 20-45 fps (with 30ish the base average) on the ‘High’ settings for graphics, and i used Nvidia control panel to add anti-alising etc.
After the Foundation update i had to drop to ‘Medium’ accept for texture details (i kept that on ‘High’) to keep more or less (slightly less) the same performance.
After Pathfinder i was getting huge ‘hitches’ and frame drops pretty much all the time and struggling to hit +30 fps. So i did some comparisons to try to see why this was happening, and it came down to GPU RAM usage. In Pathfinder that goes over my cards 2GB on anything other than ‘low’ settings. On ‘Low’ texture settings in Pathfinder i get the smoother performance back, but it still uses about 1.8-1.9 of my cards 2 GB! It was not so hungry in the previous updates so i can only conclude they have increased the texture size over the various levels of details vs what they used to be.
I’m half tempted to simply copy/paste the textures from an older version back into Pathfinder just to see if i can get my performance back up. The trouble here is that NMS is rather a pain to mod, and with each new update they have introduced new ‘stuff’ so you would need to go through all the textures and make sure the new textures stay with any old textures from previous versions, it could get a bit messy