No Man’s Sky keeps getting bigger with its next expansion, subtitled Outlaws. This free update promises to introduce players to the game’s criminal underworld by focusing largely on activities like smuggling and pirate raids when it goes live today.
As teased in the video below, Outlaws turns willing denizens of No Man’s Sky into rebels, allowing them to take on illicit missions at space stations overrun with dangerous criminals. Both solar sail-equipped starships (the game’s first new starships in over two years) and upgraded space combat will aid players in achieving these goals, which can apparently net some huge rewards if survived.
The update’s full patch notes can be found on the official website, but here’s a rundown of the main bullet points from the devs at Hello Games themselves:
Outlaws have taken over space stations all across the galaxy. Outlaw systems are dangerous, lawless places, with frequent conflict (but this all represents an opportunity for players with an eye for raiding passing starships…)
A new series of missions leads players towards pockets of rebellion, where they’ll find an underworld offering pirate missions, black-market technology, and a chance to acquire valuable goods illegal elsewhere in the galaxy. Like-minded players can even acquire a forged passport that will allow them by-pass the authorities.
With unique solar-powered sail and sleek bodywork, this is the vessel of choice for those looking to speed between the stars. The Solar Ship is No Man’s Sky’s first new starship since the start of 2020. There is considerable variety across this range of ships, so look forward to scouring the galaxy for the perfect version to match your existing fleet. The maximum number of ships a player can own has been raised from six to nine, so you don’t have to worry about limiting your fleet either.
Illegal goods can be purchased in outlaw systems and be smuggled out for a significant profit. A smuggler’s life is dangerous. The Sentinels are on the lookout for contraband, and discovery is only a cargo probe away…
All players—not just the smugglers—will benefit from the addition of specialist cargo inventories to all starships. These high-capacity slots can store large quantities of cargo, and storage-hungry players can unlock extra slots from the ship upgrade terminal found on all space stations.
Players can now recruit and upgrade their own wingmen. Collect your perfect set of ships and pilots. Each pilot comes with their own abilities, and can be upgraded over time to improve the combat ability.
Space combat has been overhauled for speed and excitement. Handling has been improved, weapons have new visual effects and enemy starships now have shields. Depth has also been added to weapon selection with a variety of specialist secondary effects, such as slowing enemy engines or disabling shield systems. Ship-to-ship combat can now occur within a planet’s atmosphere too – and pirates may raid your settlements. For those who find Space Combat difficult, flight accessibility has been significantly improved with a new Auto-Follow mode.
No Man’s Sky recently won the award for “Evolving Game” at BAFTA’s British Academy Games Awards, and it’s easy to see why. The work Hello Games continues to do on the project is astounding, especially considering the controversies that both led up to the game’s release and overshadowed it well after launch.
I’ll go out on a limb and say No Man’s Sky is a bit too complicated now for me personally—I rather enjoyed the somber, meditative state in which it debuted—but it’s clear players are finally getting what they wanted out of the game all those years ago.