One of 2021's big themes for No Man's Sky has been expeditions, with highlights including a Mass Effect crossover that saw the Normandy make an appearance. These events, however, run for a limited time, and a press release from Hello Games acknowledges that "this very busy year, and the limited-time nature of the expeditions, has meant that it has been difficult for some people to participate in them."
Thus they're all coming back over the festive period, and yes that includes Mass Effect: "We’ve even managed to bring back the Normandy as a reward for those who missed out, which I know so many have asked for."
The expeditions return on 24 November and will roll out in the order they were released in. The schedule is:
- Expedition 1 (Pioneers): 24th November - 7th December
- Expedition 2 (Beachhead/Normandy): 8th December - 21st December
- Expedition 3 (Cartographers): 22nd December - 4th January
- Expedition 4 (Emergence): 5th January - 9th January
"This marks the end of 2021 which has been another busy year for our small team, as we celebrated No Man’s Sky’s 5th anniversary with 4 major updates" reads the release. "This now takes us to 17 large releases, as well as countless smaller updates, community requests, and hotfixes: a huge amount of work for such a small team. We are very proud to have been on this adventure with you, and humbled that we are able to continue taking No Man’s Sky to new and exciting places."
I haven't played all of these but did dip back into No Man's Sky for the most recent expedition, Emergence, and all I can say is it satisfied my urge to see lots of giant sandworms.
It's been a hell of a year, once more, for No Man's Sky. After one of the most difficult launches in history Hello Games has created something players love and it can be truly proud of (it even finally reached 'positive' Steam review status this year!). And, of course, next year there will be more to come: "Already work has started on some exciting plans for 2022 and there are no signs of us slowing."