This week sees the long-awaited arrival of Denis Villeneuve's Dune in UK cinemas, and, not to be outdone, No Man's Sky is getting in on the big, wormy sci-fi action too, giving its burrowing space sausages a terrifying makeover as part of its latest update.
This newest addition to Hello Games' ever-expanding exploratory space sim is described by the developer as an 'accidental' Halloween update, and primarily takes the form of a brand-new limited-time Expedition event, titled Emergence - the first to feature narrative elements.
"Across the universe, planets have been blighted by the activity of Titan Worms," explains Hello Games. "These colossal sandworms plough through the desert sands, blacking out the sun as they arc overhead, and defiling the very terrain with their cursed dust."
Emergence strands players on Wasan, a barren, sandworm-infested planet ravaged by dust storms. Here, they'll follow the threads of a dark narrative as they attempt to defeat the titanic creatures and rid the planet of cursed dust. "Locate the Titan Worm impact sites, destroy the wretched Hungering Tendrils, and collect the Vile Spawn that lingers behind," teases Hello Games, before ominously adding, "The vessels of the many mouths must be purged!".
This sinister quest to reveal the history of a dark cult brings with it a range of new features and content additions in what Hello Games is referring to as an accompanying "mini-update". These include more varied (and "more horrifying") sandworms, and, somewhat hilariously, the ability for players to tame and grow their own sandworms, feeding, petting, and riding the monstrous creatures across the universe - a feature unlocked by completing the latest Expedition.
Other rewards for progressing through Emergence, as detailed in Hello Games' announcement post, include the slightly upsetting Feasting Casque head skin (seen in the trailer above), the Ghastly Trail jetpack effect - which ejects "gooey fluids and tiny worms" out of your nozzles - plus the Titanic Trophy skull decor item and Flesh Launcher firework, which is said to explode in a "splatter of slime, plasma and wormlets". Hot.
Elsewhere, in concerns less wormy, the update adds a range of particle effect improvements, touching on the likes of meteors, muzzle flashes, explosions, burrowing fauna dust, billowing smoke, and laser impacts.
Expedition 4: Emergence launches today on all platforms, and should be well worth checking out if No Man's Sky's excellent third Expedition, Cartographers, is any indication.