Want to strap into VR? It's optional. Want to play with friends or strangers? It's optional. Want to, er, milk the game's bizarre creatures? That's optional, too. But it's all here, along with tons of other updated features, entirely for free, starting August 14.

Enlarge / Want to strap into VR? It's optional. Want to play with friends or strangers? It's optional. Want to, er, milk the game's bizarre creatures? That's optional, too. But it's all here, along with tons of other updated features, entirely for free, starting August 14. (credit: Hello Games)

When I caught wind of a new No Man's Sky update launching on August 14, free for all owners, I went through the usual routine of emailing its makers at Hello Games to request some form of access. Anything from a beta branch to a list of patch notes might support whatever I'd end up writing, I said. In response, Hello Games offered a high-class upgrade: a phone conversation with the game's director.

That's Sean Murray himself, the man whose name kept getting attached to stories about disappointed fans—and who thus went into media-blackout mode for some time. Since launch, NMS has benefited from a series of patches, and I looked forward to hearing about even more new content coming to the game, like a VR update (which I'd briefly tested at a Valve Index reveal event in April) and an emphasis on online play.

Of course, hours before my phone rang, my game-news feed lit up with the No Man's Sky community losing its danged mind.

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