In this new No Man's Sky update you can 'explore an abandoned universe' alone with 'no other lifeforms, no shops, no help'

Remember when Thanos snapped his fingers and killed half the life in the universe? Well, imagine he had Infinity Gauntlets on both hands, and maybe Infinity Booties on his feet, and he just kept snapping, tapping, scatting, and bebopping like crazy until all life in the universe was nothing but dust. Everything except you.

That's the tone in Adrift, a new Expedition for No Man's Sky, where you'll "explore an abandoned universe" all by yourself, with "no other lifeforms, no shops, no help." Those cute little aliens? Gone. Bustling space stations? More like busted. You're on your own, Traveler. Have a look at the unsettlingly lonesome trailer above.

It's worth pointing out that the "no lifeforms" claim isn't quite what the trailer makes it out to be. Immediately you can see several types of those weird wriggling tentacle monsters, a sandworm abruptly leaps through the air, and other winged creatures appear in the sky. So there are still critters to discover and catalogue, but there's no intelligent life out there: no NPCs, no traders, no friendly aliens or robots to chat with or buy ships from or stumble upon in a remote outpost. Any buildings you find will be rusted and abandoned, and space stations will be damaged and empty. 

But all hope isn't lost. You can get around the eerily abandoned universe in style with a customizable new kind of spacecraft called the Iron Vulture, which looks pretty sick in the trailer, especially with those the new propulsion types. There's also a "ghostly new frigate class" that looks like a heavily damaged starship you can add to your fleet, so that's at least a little company and the lonely void.

"Though everyone will awaken on the desolate, worm-infested planet Iapezuk, you will not be together in the usual sense," Hello Games tells us in a press release. "The boundaries between realities have thickened. Communication is consumed by static. Even the usually-bustling Space Anomaly is eerily silent.

"In this forsaken universe, deprived of support from merchants and traders, self-reliance is more critical than ever. Survive a spread of repair, exploration, and combat challenges—and meditate upon the darkness of deep space."

As a survival experience it sounds like an interesting and probably quite challenging way to play No Man's Sky. If there really are no shops, that means no galactic terminals, too. That's mostly what I use to buy and sell the stuff I need—If that's not part of Adrift, I can imagine it being pretty darn difficult to progress.

I do like the idea of being the only intelligent life in the universe, though. It was a little weird when No Man's Sky first launched that every planet you went to was dotted with structures and outposts and landing pads and other buildings. It really took away from the feeling of being an explorer when every time you landed on some bizarre, far-flung planet you'd immediately find an outpost with a Gek dude just chilling there. It made it feel less like an unknown frontier and more like a galactic parking lot.

Completing the Expedition will reward an exclusive set of collectibles—"the gnawing scuttler companion, a supply of starship stealth paint, a ghostly frigate, and the unique Iron Vulture starship". And as with other time-limited Expeditions, those rewards will become available in all your other saves from the Space Anomaly.

Adrift launches today, and will run for seven weeks.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.