No Man's Sky is almost six years old, and it's come a long way since its troubled launch. The space sim has received loads of free expansions and improvements since 2016, and creator Sean Murray said in February that it will continue to grow. What we don't know is what future updates will look like, though fans both on reddit and Twitter seem to think pirate battles are a certainty. Louder are the calls for something resembling Sea of Thieves in space.
And who can blame them? Sean Murray posted a coy pirate flag emoji on Twitter today. The pirate flag emoji could mean anything. Maybe Murray belongs to a secret global gang of pirate roleplayers, and he's speaking in code with them. But if you choose to believe that the pirate flag emoji is a tease for forthcoming No Man's Sky pirate-themed content, I wouldn't blame you.
🏴☠️April 11, 2022
No Man's Sky already has pirates, which take the form of roaming AI controlled starships that can start fights in outer space. They can be quite the annoyance, but also lucrative if you choose to become a pirate bounty hunter. If new pirate content is coming, it could possibly deepen this aspect of the game, perhaps adding actual face-to-face interactions with said pirates.
A cursory Google search also suggests that people quite like roleplaying as pirates too, so if No Man's Sky is getting new pirate content, it'd be cool if it supported online pirate shenanigans. Or maybe new pirate content points to a PvP-oriented expansion; PvP exists in No Man's Sky, but it's an opt-in affair. Most people tend to opt-out, and fair enough, because surviving in space is stressful enough without being sniped by overpowered players.
Whatever the case, it almost certainly means something. Sean Murray knows that talking too much about a game's features before they're implemented can go very wrong, and while it is just a pirate flag emoji (and maybe the guy just really loves pirates!) his account tends not to muck around.
The last major expansion for No Man's Sky released last year in the form of Frontiers, which added planetary settlements, pets, and a big overhaul to base building among heaps of other stuff. More recently, it had a major combat overhaul in early 2022, which (and forgive me for getting my hopes up) could have laid the groundwork for something resembling Sea of Thieves in space.