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New No Man’s Sky update is free to try even if you don’t own the game

The No Man’s Sky Omega update overhauls expeditions, reworks its Atlas path, and adds a pirate dreadnought, and you can try it for free.

No Man's Sky Omega update will let you try it for free - An explorer in red space armor stands among colorful flora.

No Man’s Sky Omega is here, and for the first time ever you’ll be able to jump into the new expedition whether or not you own the game. To celebrate the launch of the new No Man’s Sky update today, developer Hello Games, currently also at work on its upcoming game Light No Fire, announces that No Man’s Sky and its Omega expansion will be available to play as a free PC game through this whole weekend, so don’t miss out on your chance to find out just how far the space exploration sandbox game has come.

The ascent of No Man’s Sky from underwhelming launch to king of all cosmos has been well documented at this point, and it’s safe to say that it’s absolutely one of the best space games out there, whether you’re looking for a sandbox to build your dream intergalactic home or simply content to roam the stars discovering planets and all their local flora and fauna. The launch of the No Man’s Sky Omega Expedition marks the integration of its most popular way to play into the core game.

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Expeditions embrace the multiplayer side of No Man’s Sky by bringing everyone together and setting them on a shared path, and now they’re being more carefully woven into the core game. “Our new expedition system allows travelers to join expeditions with bespoke provisions, bring along their favorite starships or custom multi-tools, and return to their main save with loot and exciting rewards,” Tim Woodley of Hello Games says.

The Omega update also includes a revamp to the core game’s narrative-led Atlas path, which will allow you to get new Atlas-themed gear. You’ll also encounter all manner of new, procedurally generated quests offered by alien lifeforms that are specific to their locale, climate, and personality.

You’ll also be able to take to the skies in a pirate Dreadnought capital ship, if you’re brave enough. You’ll have to first defeat their fleet of freighters in combat, but then you’ll be able to board the Dreadnought and claim the ship and its fleet of frigates for your command. Suffice to say, there are plenty of reasons to check out No Man’s Sky Omega – and, as mentioned, anyone can play the new update for free, even if you don’t own the base game.

No Man's Sky Omega Expedition - A ship flies through space past a giant dreadnought.

No Man’s Sky Omega launches Thursday February 15 and its expedition will run for four weeks. To celebrate, it’s free to play for the first weekend until Monday February 19. You’ll be able to jump in and join the Omega Expedition whether or not you own No Man’s Sky. “There are no microtransactions, no free to play mechanics, just a huge universe to explore for free with your friends,” Woodley explains in a statement provided to PCGamesN ahead of launch.

If you’re curious about grabbing yourself a copy to keep, however, No Man’s Sky is 50% off on Steam until Monday February 26, so you’ll still have the chance to pick it up for cheap once the free period ends. You can also play No Man’s Sky for free if you’re a subscriber to Microsoft’s PC Game Pass service.

Looking for more of the best sandbox games that give you the full run of the place? We’ve picked out our favorites, along with more of the best free PC games for plenty of fun that won’t cost you a thing.

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