No Man’s Sky’s next major update is coming in July, and it’s bringing a much-anticipated feature to the game: online multiplayer. Developer Hello Games announced the release date for No Man’s Sky NEXT, which is described as the biggest update to the game yet, and it will also see No Man’s Sky make its belated debut on the Xbox One. (It’s currently available on both the PlayStation 4 and PC.) The NEXT update will hit all platforms on July 24th.
The big news for the update, though, is that full multiplayer support is finally coming, a feature that was talked about prior to the game’s launch in 2016 but was never actually implemented. No Man’s Sky takes place in a vast, procedurally generated universe that’s the same for all players, yet virtual explorers haven’t been able to actually come across each other.
“No Man’s Sky can be mysterious and lonely, and I love that, it’s very sci-fi… but playing with your friends is another type of science fiction, more like Battlestar or the Star Trek away team,” says studio co-founder Sean Murray. “It’s fun, emergent, intense, and funny in a way that we’ve always wanted No Man’s Sky to be.”
Murray says that the studio has been testing the feature for the past six months, and it sounds fairly robust. Here’s how he describes it:
You’ll be able to explore the universe with your friends, or bump into random travellers. You can help friends to stay alive, or prey on others to survive. Your group can build anything from tiny shelters to complex colonies spanning planets, and everything is shared online for others to visit. Fight as a pirate or a wingman in epic space battles with friends and enemies. Race exocraft across weird alien terrains, creating race tracks or maybe just scenic trails to share online.
NEXT is the fourth major expansion for No Man’s Sky, following last year’s Atlas Rises, which added a very welcome focus on narrative to the game. It’ll be a free update for existing players when it’s available in July.