If you already own No Man's Sky, you're about to own it in VR, too. As part of this summer's Beyond expansion, No Man's Sky is getting the full virtual reality treatment. And as with every other update that's arrived in the years since No Man's Sky launched, this VR update is free if you already own the game. You can watch the announcement trailer above.
Not only will you not have to buy a new copy of No Man's Sky to use VR (as you did with games like Skyrim VR and Fallout VR), you won't even need to start a fresh save: you can keep on playing any of your existing saved games in VR. Just pop on a headset and pick up where you left off. And there's even more good news: you can still play No Man's Sky cooperatively with your friends (or strangers) even if you have a VR headset and they don't. (Or vice-versa.) The entirety of No Man's Sky will be playable in VR.
"By bringing full VR support, for free, to the millions of players already playing the game, No Man’s Sky will become perhaps the most-owned VR title when released, which is weird to think about," reads the email PC Gamer received from developer Hello Games. "The team is working so hard to live up to the expectations that creates. We are excited for that moment when millions of players will suddenly update and be able to set foot on their home planets and explore the intricate bases they have built in virtual reality for the first time."
I spoke to Sean Murray at GDC last week about No Man's Sky VR, and he told me it's more than just a simple retrofit for virtual reality. Since even before the Next expansion was released, Hello Games has been working hard to fully tailor the space exploration sandbox to VR.
"Each thing we've revisited—how you use the menus, how you use the quick menu, how you build things, how you summon a ship—each thing has been revisited and works differently," Murray said. "Which is a lot of work. Every single mechanic in the game has been revisited. How you punch things, how you mine things… and it's a lot of work. But it feels really satisfying to do."
When I heard the news I immediately formed a mental list of about ten planets I've discovered in my game that I very much want to visit again in virtual reality. Imagine standing on the surface of this depressing monochrome planet, or this planet with godawful weather, or those weird synthetic planets. I'm not too keen on the idea of facing No Man's Sky's biological horrors in VR, but exploring in creative mode sounds pretty compelling.
No Man's Sky Beyond is due out in summer 2019, and along with the multiplayer expansion and VR support there's a third new 'major' feature Hello Games hasn't revealed yet. We hope to hear more about it soon. Have a few more screenshots below, and read more about No Man's Sky VR here.