Barely a month has gone by since the arrival of No Man's Sky's major Outlaws update, which gave intergalactic explorers the opportunity to live out their pirate fantasies, but already Hello Games is back - this time with a brand-new expedition that finally answers fan pleas to add space whales (of a sort) to the exploratory sim.
Expeditions, if you're unfamiliar, are effectively No Man's Sky's stab at live-service-style seasonal content, serving up limited-time, curated experiences that condense and reshuffle its various systems into a series of progression-based milestone challenges. And today's addition, titled Leviathan, is a very different proposition to April's The Blighted, and sounds considerably more ambitious - and significantly weirder - than any of the expeditions we've seen before.
That said, Leviathan begins in much the same way as previous expeditions, dropping all players into one location. However, what follows is something closer to a roguelike experience, stripping explorers of their progress whenever they die. The narrative twist, though, is that players are actually stuck in a mysterious time loop, and the entire community will need to work together to find a way to break free.
Essentially, there's a persistent, global goal the community can work toward, and this will permanently improve the quality and frequency of upgrade rewards that can be applied to whatever randomly generated load-out a player acquires each time they die - which in turn should help them progress further and complete the objectives required to escape the loop.
As for the aforementioned space whale, that's the titular Leviathan - a "large and imposing space creature shrouded in myth and mystery" that forms part of this latest update's story. It's also a reward players can unlock by completing the expedition - taking the form of No Man's Sky's first-ever living frigate - and that's joined by additional unlockables, including the Whalestalker cloak, a mini Organic Frigate for players' bases, and a Temporal Starship Trail. More details can be found on Hello Games' website.
While today's update mightn't be quite as dramatic as some of No Man's Sky's previous additions, Hello Games says that, in the background, its team is putting the finishing touches to the previously announced Switch version of the game (which is due this summer), alongside some "large upcoming updates". More details on both of those should arrive "in due course".