If you've ever wanted to live the life of a space sheriff in some intergalactic frontier town, No Man's Sky's latest free update has you well and truly covered.
No Man's Sky's Frontiers update - the 17th (!) to release since launch - arrives today on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC, bringing something a little bit different to Hello Games' ever-expanding exploratory space sim. Players can now stumble across procedurally generated Mos-Eisley-like settlements while exploring inhabited planets around the galaxy, each featuring unique buildings, neighbourhood layouts, colour schemes, and interior and exterior decorations.
Intriguingly, settlements serve as more than just points of interest for roving space tourists; players can agree to become the overseer of an ungoverned settlement, whereupon they'll be placed in charge of everything from town planning and treasury management to policy making and conflict resolution, even defending from enemy attacks when required.
Settlements start off modestly, with a few buildings and citizens, but can be expanded into bustling centres of civilisation by collecting the resources needed to construct new buildings, attract new pioneers, and foster a flourishing town. And to aid in this expansion, Frontiers introduces "hundreds" of new base parts - including new structural sets of timber, stone, and alloy - alongside a revamped building interface, making it easier to place, scale, rotate, and recolour building pieces. "Pick up and move base parts you've placed," says Hello Games, "duplicate parts, or build impossible new structures in free place mode."
While settlements are the undoubted focus of No Man's Sky's latest update, it features more too. There are new multi-coloured nebulas to make deep space exploration just a little more beautiful, for instance, and "almost all" visual effects - including weapons and explosions - have been revisited and improved. There's also a new Expedition season, and new in-game rewards via Twitch Drops are "coming soon".
"Frontiers represents another milestone in the No Man's Sky journey," concludes Hello Games. "Our journey continues." Full patch notes can be found here.