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No Man's Sky's new Outlaws update lets you become a fearsome space pirate

Plus ship combat improvements and more.

If you've been itching to turn to the darker side in No Man's Sky, developer Hello Games' exploratory space sim has you covered in its new Outlaws update, giving players the chance to trade their life of relatively wholesome interplanetary meandering and base building for one of rather more criminal pursuits as they take on the role of fearsome space pirates.

Just as February's Sentinels update sought to improve ground combat, Outlaws aims to do the same for space combat. That means better ship handling, shields for enemy starships, plus visual enhancements and various specialist secondary effects for weapons. The latter for instance, might give players the ability to slow enemy engines or disable their shield systems. Additionally, combat can now move down into a planet's atmosphere and AI pirates can even attack your settlements - and if all that sounds a little intimidating, Hello Games has introduced a new Auto-Follow mode to improve combat accessibility.

Elsewhere, there's a brand-new class of ship in the form of the sleek, solar-powered, and rather unimaginatively named Solar Starship (plus the maximum number of ships players can store has now been increased to nine), and it's now possible to create squadrons, recruiting and upgrading AI wingmen, each with their own unique abilities, for assistance in battle. Oh, and all ships now have high-capacity (and expandable) cargo inventories for specialist goods.

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And yes, specialist goods include illegal contraband that players wishing to turn to a life of space-crime can now smuggle around the galaxy for big payouts - as long as they can avoid the Sentinels. Illegal goods can be purchased at Outlaw Stations found in new outlaw systems. These are "dangerous, lawless places" where combat is more frequent, and where players can take on pirate missions, acquire black-market technology, and those aforementioned illegal goods. And perhaps even a forged passport to help evade authorities.

You can catch a glimpse of those new activities in No Man's Sky's latest update trailer above. Outlaws will be available to download on all platforms today, and full patch notes can be found on Hello Games' website if you're eager to learn more.