Hello Games has unveiled its first trailer for No Man's Sky's major, multiplayer-focussed NEXT update, which comes to PC, PS4 and - for the first time - Xbox One, on July 24th.

NEXT's flagship addition, of course, is multiplayer, which enables a small group to team up for bouts of planetary exploration, building, space combat, racing, questing, and more - all of which will be playable in both first- or third-person perspective. It'll be possible to bump into - or prey on - random players too.

That's a genuinely exciting, and very welcome, addition to what's a sometimes lonely game of exploration and expansion - but, speaking as someone who's been thoroughly ensnared by the strangely hypnotic meanderings of No Man's Sky as it's grown through multiple updates, I'm just as excited about some of the other new features briefly highlighted in the latest trailer.

First and foremost is the new terrain generation system, which notably improves the appearance of planets. The trailer highlights considerably enhanced rock and ground textures, water, and clouds. Additionally, unless my eyes deceive me, lighting, atmospheric effects, and foliage look to have received a bit of an overhaul too - all of which will hopefully make for greater planetary variety on the journey across the galaxy.

Hello Games also promises significantly increased ship, NPC, and building detail, as well as planetary rings and improved space visuals.

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Elsewhere, the trailer offers a few more teases, including a glimpse of an underwater base. Excitingly (for tireless architectural tinkerers like me, at least) Hello Games explains that bases are no longer restricted to fixed areas on a planet's surface. Instead, you can build anywhere - so can finally take advantage of that particularly striking vista you spotted on your travels.

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Better yet, you can own multiple bases across multiple planets, so you won't be forced to constantly rebuild each time you stumble across an enticing new world. Additionally, building complexity and size limits are increased, with NEXT adding "hundreds" of new base parts.

Hello Games also says that you can now you can "assemble and upgrade a fleet of frigates and command them from the bridge of your freighter".

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It's not entirely clear how this will play out in practice, based on the press release, so I'll just relay Hello Games' words: "Send your fleet out to into the universe, or deploy them to help you as you explore a specific system [...] Invite your friends aboard and take on challenging multiplayer missions from the Galactic Commission Station on your bridge." The studio notes that freighter customisation and building has been enhanced in NEXT too.

Wrapping things up for now, Hello Games says, "This is an incredibly important update for us, but it's also just another step in a longer journey, and we'll continue to support No Man's Sky in this way for the foreseeable future."

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Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a freelance writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.

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