Khaït Nebula: Stranger Skies Official Release, Changelog, 2022 Roadmap Preview
Hey there, pilots!
BOOM shaka-laka-laka, dankeschön, auf wiedersehen! The 3rd major EVERSPACE 2 content update, Khaït Nebula: Stranger Skies has launched on Steam and GOG— WOOHOO! Check out the massive changelog of what’s new, or just delve right into our strangest star system yet, featuring a new faction and gear, new gameplay mechanics, new alien lifeforms, new story content, another companion bringing freaking FaaaaaaST tRAveLlllll to your space map and more, as well as an all-new player ship class that will make you go “awww, look at those pretties…”!
This is me genuinely enjoying reaching out to 8K backers and 150K Early Access pilots directly, while also testing the limits of how goofy and entertaining we can go in our communication very similar to how Erik does in our weekly gamedev & community streams on Twitch and YouTube—you really should swing by if you haven’t! It’s always a ton of fun, especially when things go wrong while showing the very latest dev build. Also, if you have a burning question that has to be answered the heck right now, drop it in chat! I’m behind the keyboard and will answer everything Erik might not be able to cover.
The Khaït Nebula
There are space games that fascinate with billions of proc-gen locations to explore, seamless transitions, and the ability to exit the spacecraft to drive vehicles and walk on planets with loads of alien flora and fauna, and they have been massively successful with this space sim formula.
However, in EVERSPACE 2, we deliberately took a completely different approach by focusing on fast-paced space combat and close-range exploration with 100 to 120 carefully handcrafted locations, each filled with secrets to unveil, puzzles to solve, and precious loot to find. Having full control over gameplay at any given time and being able to design the environment by utilizing the amazing graphics power of Unreal Engine 4 to the fullest, allows us to create limited yet unique experiences within the space game genre.
With the 4th star system in EVERSPACE 2, our intention was to take this promise to a whole new level (WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD!):
New Faction: The Redeemers
The Redeemers began as part of the “Research Department for Extinct Extraterrestrial Monuments”, a group of scientists, adventurers, and mercenaries who entered the Khaït Nebula seeking clues to The Ancient’s past and keys to their technology. After unlocking an ancient portal and capturing the Ancient Warden within, obsession and the dark energies from the portal have driven these researchers to worship everything related to The Ancients.
Corrupted and slavishly obsessed with The Ancients, The Redeemers are now a cult dedicated to the understanding of this precursor race. Drawn by mysterious stories, new recruits travel to Khaït to learn about the wisdom of The Ancients. Here they are forced to make a “rite of passage” by leaving all their material belongings outside the jumpgate and passing through without their vessels, “unburdened by their past”. Successful recruits (namely those with useful skills) are brought to a “sacred location” in order to be bombarded with strange Ancient dark energy and initiated into the cult. Those who do not pass muster, are left in the vacuum of the void.
This sub-faction is hostile to all to enter the Khaït Nebula, using a mixture of Freelancer gear and adapted Ancient technology to destroy or capture travelers within the star system. They survive off illegal trade (arms, drugs, slaves), but also offer Ancient tech and artifacts to those with the right connections.
New Gameplay: New Ancient Puzzles
As you can see in the new trailer, we’ve added a slew of new Ancient puzzles in the Khaït Nebula. Now, instead of explaining how they work in detail—that would be super-lame—let me share why we did this.
One of our secondary pillars for EVERSPACE 2 was creating a distinctive look & feel for every star system; not just through variation in key world design assets, signature color & lighting theme, new enemy types, and focus on game lore, but also by slightly shifting the focus from the franchise’s iconic fast-paced loot & shoot gameplay to introduce new gameplay mechanics—phew, what a sentence!
To keep things fresh and interesting and make world exploration worthwhile; we have spent a lot of time and effort introducing new types of activities with each star system. In some cases we explore new twists on already-introduced mechanics, but they always bring something new to the cockpit.
In Union, you’ve been introduced to the first Ancient puzzle, set in a confined space with hard-to-miss-pointers to its solution. In Zharkov, you’ll find Ancient puzzles based on established mechanics which require further exploration to solve. In the Khaït Nebula, we’re introducing entirely new mechanics and more complex puzzles that can even spread across an entire location, making for some jaw-dropping moments when things fall into place.
Before moving on: To all space pilots not fans of puzzle-solving, again, don’t you worry! Most of them are optional, while the few that are part of the campaign are really not that hard. BTW, a scientific study in 2017 showed that playing a very popular 3D-platforming game increases hippocampal grey matter in older adults; meaning, complex 3D video games prevents Alzheimer’s—crazy shit; isn’t it? Man, I can’t wait to turn 70 and play video games all day long and maybe go for a walk at least every other day just not to get rusty. Where was I? Right! We’ve also got a brand-new player ship sub-class!
New Player Ship Class: The Vindicator
This new Heavy Fighter type ship class switches it up with the highest mobility of all Heavies and the unique capability of using drones to deal damage. The Vindicator’s drone focus is supported by both its expertise, which increases drone hull hit points, and its Ultimate ability, Phalanx, to immediately spawn all missing drones, greatly increase their fire rate, and synchronize them to attack your locked target.
The Vindicator’s Special ability, Reanimator, turns the wrecks of destroyed enemies to your advantage. Interacting with wrecks spawns or repairs your currently active drones. These reanimated drones have an unlimited lifetime and you can have up to 5 active at a time.
Just like all other player ship sub-classes, tier 1 and 2 Vindicators can be purchased at any Ship Dealer in the DMZ if you’re lucky. Before you pull the trigger, though, you might take a closer look if the roll of Passive Perks suits your playstyle:
- Maximum number of active drones increased by 1
- Drones are invulnerable during Phalanx
- Drones regenerate 1% hull per second
- 50% reduced damage from enemy drones
- Drones explode in a violent blast, damaging and slowing down nearby enemies
New Story Content, Companion, and Perks
Picking up where the story left off, Maddocks has caught up with Adam back at the base. He needs help finding his other companion Eduardo who has the last piece of information leading to the treasure Maddocks and Dax have been seeking for many years. An audio log will lead you on a merry chase through the Khaït Nebula where you’ll find many new areas, including a strange planetoid.
When you finally catch up to Eduardo, he’s not alone, and things are getting just even more complicated. Despite tension in the air, your new acquaintance proves to be a valuable addition to the team thanks to some impressive star navigation skills.
Khala the Navigator
Khala belongs to an alien species previously unknown to the crew. Her remarkable astro-navigation skills make her a valuable companion. Khala can create jump nodes for shortcuts through space—Woohoo, Fast Travel unlocked! Furthermore, by unlocking the Location Scanner perk additional information details will show on the map, like how many secrets are still to be found.
Khala has been stranded on the asteroid for years after crash landing during a battle with adversaries she describes as “The Greel”. She’s been stuck with only Eduardo as recent company, time used to learn his language. She is extremely quick-witted and has an extraordinary knowledge of the galaxy, although much of what she describes seems to belong to a part of the galaxy unknown to anybody else.
Having nowhere else to go, Khala joins the crew at Home Base, putting her knowledge to use mapping and finding shortcuts between systems as the base navigator. Much of the surrounding area, however, is unfamiliar to her, and she uses her time, and newfound equipment, to seek geographical markers which will help her find home.
Khala’s brusque attitude occasionally may clash with the other companions as she finds her way amongst alien species. Though Adam’s other companions may initially distrust her, especially Maddocks, and Elek may fear she is going to eat him, Khala has a lot to offer to the crew.
Pilots will discover more about Khala’s background and species as she comes along as a companion. As one of the first new races introduced in EVERSPACE 2, Khala is just a tiny glimpse into the wider universe.
Changelog 0.7.22328 (Official)
- Added new main and side missions
- Added new star system: Khaït Nebula
- Added new player ship class: Vindicator
- Added new companion
- Added new enemy faction: Redeemers
- Added new lifeforms
- Added new puzzle mechanics
- Added fast travel mechanics (companion perk)
- Added map completion display (companion perk)
- Added more resources
- Added new star map assets to represent planets and celestial objects more accurately
- Added “relative mouse controls” option for centered mouse crosshair controls
- Added new Pulse Laser type
- Added projectile sounds
- Added new WIP narrated cinematics
- Added new music tracks
- Increased level cap to 20 and added three new player perks
- UI: Info widget – Added support for disabling tooltip style via settings when using M&K
- Player ships now have names depending on ship class and ship modules
- HUD markers for pickups now have a new look and individual icons for each category (weapon, module, resource…)
- Enabled target lock for outlaw station cores
- Made fighting G&B in “In Transit” mission a bit more challenging
- Added planet names to supralight and star map
- Sniper Drones will now telegraph their shots more accurately
- Made Sniper Drone shots easier to evade
- Increased distance at which boundary warning is shown and ship turns around
- Show time since last save in pause menu and game over screen
- If saved on station, show station name in save game slot
- Limited the number of Quantum Tether targets to 5 and reduced the damage bonus from 10% to 5% per target
- Renamed “Aeterna Bypass” to “Mainframe Expansion”
- Once initiated, holding F to pull multiple items at once with tractor beam now does not break if item is not hovered anymore
- Allow “High Capacity” affix on primary weapons which increases energy capacity
- Slightly increased Outlaw Sniper precision
- Improved texture memory allocation
- Improved Fusion Hook “Kunai” mode target acquisition
- Increased Nano Transmitter “Distribution” mode range to 1km
- UI: Added action bar divider to improve readability
- UI: Perks tab – Added animations for selection highlight and “new” indicator
- UI: Item info widget – Added input specific scrollbars and indicators
- UI: Item info widget – Switches display style implicitly based on last navigation input (WASD=static or mouse=tooltip)
- UI: Item info widget – Optimized side-by-side compare window interaction and (sfx-) feedback
- UI: Shortened hold action durations like dismantle, destroy, store and more
- UI: Added a rarity dependent duration bonus to the new default dismantle hold duration
- UI: Added actual object name to loot screen headline (e.g. “Shipwreck” instead of “container”)
- UI: Shop – Default amount when buying resources set to 1 instead of stack limit
- UI: Crafting – Saving last used crafting rarity independently instead of per category
- UI: Item management – Batch move – Added implicit sorting on gamepad
- UI: Item management – Batch move – Added info banner in case action did not move all items
- UI: Changing modify action from simple press to hold action to be more consistent with crafting
- UI: Added new indicator logic for devices and the ship tab
- UI: Tutorial – The plating Adam got from Dax has a new marker now
- UI: Perks – “Last opened perk tree” changes to “first not fully upgraded perk tree” in case it is fully upgraded
- UI: Hyper travel – Gamepad <select> button opens map tab instead of inventory tab
- UI: Reworked special item action bar. (WIP)
- UI: Added new ingame menu footer action styles like “pair” and mouse-only
- Fixed that “Union Border Control” location was unlocked too early
- Fixed bug where upgrading items in cargo boosted the stats
- Fixed wrong max hull hitpoints calculation when repairing your ship while any Augment is put into Structure
- Fixed Vesna Mining Colony shop not being shown on map
- Fixed occasionally wrong navigation result when using gamepad or WASD to select colors/decals
- Fixed that the Bomber perk that converts mines would break Minesweeper jobs
- Fixed flickering of outlaw station cores
- Fixed “Ultimate Ready” display not showing the correct icon
- Fixed that secondary weapons will not count towards “Upgrade a weapon’s level” achievement
- Fixed that the “Accelerated” affix for shields wasn’t changing any stats
- Fixed Recharge Speed attribute for shields falsely decreasing with higher levels
- Fixed bomb indicators in the mission “Tipping the Scales”, which didn’t stop pinging after interaction
- Fixed calculation of Flying Dutchess spawn position
- Fixed that some equipment received affixes that did not change any attributes, e.g. “Swift Repeater”
- Fixed being able to re-enter invalidated, already cleared high-risk locations
- Fixed being able to leave the location using jump drive right after retrieving the signature in “The Vortex”, before the suppressor drones even become active
- Fixed slide door open/close sounds playing although door was already opened/closed
- Fixed outlaws being able to spawn below surface during “Spares & Scrap” mission at Nepthys Plains
- Fixed not receiving all rewards when finishing multiple jobs at once by docking
- Fixed not receiving a reward when bringing the Flying Dutchess her designated quest item
- Fixed an exploit that made it possible to create energy spheres without time limit
- Fixed same keybinding for “increase setting” and “decrease setting” being shown in photo mode when using gamepad
- Fixed set bonus background border not aligning correctly when comparing items
- Fixed that containers did not drop loot when hit by player from further than 2km away
- Fixed a case in which dialogs could overlap after undocking from Nephtys Plains station during a mission and immediately docking again
- Fixed blocked paths for secrets in Volta Nebula
- Fixed “Low” texture quality setting not being applied correctly
- Fixed that setting gamma value via pause menu while docked looked weird/broken
- Fixed missing location image for “Union Outer Rim”
- Fixed Fusion Hook “Kunai” mode pulling disabled targets at ludicrous speeds
- Fixed Okkar Corvettes flying straight out of locations
- Fixed one frame input lag in auto-aim
- Fixed that an item bonus was not displayed for an attribute like Utility if there are more than 5 items with a bonus equipped
- UI: Fixed that drag and drop actions of weapons within equipment inventory could lead to wrong slot highlighting
- UI: Fixed item management – Batch move – Missing consolidate when using Hive’s “send to homebase” feature
- UI: Fixed item management – Batch move – Sometimes not all items were moved even though there was space in the target inventory
- UI: Fixed item management – Batch move – Disabled multi-selection of items located in container or shop
- UI: Fixed data tab – Empty slots in mission items inventory
- UI: Fixed focusing wrong slot after consumable fillup via item selection
- UI: Fixed issues with inventory sorting type “Latest”
- UI: Fixed a bug where the player could get soft-locked in the crafting materials screen after minimizing the game
- UI: Fixed item info widget – Side-by-side compare getting stuck when hovering over non-comparable items
- UI: Fixed perks – Some companion avatar images were cut on top during animation
- UI: Fixed loud SFX when selling multiple items at once
- UI: Fixed item selection – Reset item info scroll progress after selected slot changed
- UI: Fixed ship selector – Change ship actions were active in tabs that didn’t support it
- UI: Fixed item repair costs could be zero in case they were between 0 and 1
Features (Exp Diff)
- (Exp) Added new Redeemer Drone Beam Laser VFX
Tweaks (Exp Diff)
- (Exp) Some performance optimizations
- (Exp) Added list of required resources to mission log of mission “Rips in Space”
- (Exp) Renamed three Redeemer ships
- (Exp) Increased initial delay for invasions
- (Exp) Do not spawn invasions at Prescott Starbase
- (Exp) Reduced Synchro Pulse range by 100m
- (Exp) Slightly increased Synchro Pulse energy consumption
Bugfixes (Exp Diff)
- (Exp) Fixed location progression not correctly counting devices or mainframe expansions in armored containers
- (Exp) Fixed location progression not correctly counting some objects (Ancient Jars, Wrecks in Anemones)
- (Exp) Fixed location progression display not showing a full circle at 100%
- (Exp) Fixed planet names in the Khaït Nebula system
- (Exp) Fixed a dialog being repeated while searching the shipwreck during “Picking Up The Pieces”
- (Exp) Fixed the collision of iris hatches in location “BRI Bioplant”
- (Exp) Fixed being able to enter the bottom interior of the ancient structure in “Chabar Tower”
- (Exp) Fixed entry dialog in the first location of Khaït Nebula system
- (Exp) Do not spawn invasions in High-Risk areas
- (Exp) Fixed ancient door open sound being played again although door was already opened
- (Exp) Fixed “Travel here” button being visible on spatial bypass locations in map mode while not using a spatial bypass
- (Exp) Fixed that enemies could spawn before the gate to the Khaït Nebula system was unlocked
- (Exp) Fixed a bug in which, during a certain stage of “X Marks The Spot”, no enemies would spawn when not continuing the mission
- (Exp) Fixed a bug in “X Marks The Spot” that prevented enemies from spawning if mission was not continued
- (Exp) Fixed skybox elements missing in randomized locations (Unknown Signals, High-Risk Areas, etc.)
Roadmap 2022 Preview
Phew, this was quite a hefty news update, but we’re aware that many of you also want to know what’s next. To be brutally honest, we haven’t fleshed out all the details for our 2022 roadmap yet as the team has been hard at work getting as much community feedback on the experimental build incorporated into the official release.
However, we can share that the next update is planned for spring; it won’t feature any new story pieces as we hit about 70% of the campaign content with today’s update and we need to keep some of our powder dry for the full release.
Now, before anyone goes (╯*□*)╯︵ ┻━┻, we plan to have another star system and maybe even a teaser of the endgame, as well as the third Light Fighter sub-class in the next update. Furthermore, we also plan to have UI and text language support in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, and Korean for all content released so far, which was very high on the list for many Early Access pilots.
Ok, that’s it for now. Make sure to join us for the official Khaït Nebula: Stranger Skies release stream on our weekly ROCKFISH Games Show on Twitch and YouTube where, Erik Schrader, ace pilot and beloved Community Ambassador will take you on a mesmerizing tour. Be there, or be square, this Friday from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm CEST / 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm EST / 11:00 am to 1:00 pm PST. 🚀💥🙌
Oh, one more thing: In case you missed grabbing EVERSPACE 2 during the summer sale at 20% off, we timed another week-long 20% sale with the release of Khaït Nebula: Stranger Skies, so here’s another chance to get in the cockpit and save a few bucks. Note that we’ll raise the price at full release, so you won’t find a better deal to grab a copy of EVERSPACE 2 anytime soon. Unless you’re on Game Pass for PC, that is.
Keep it civil on the forums, and see you in space!
Michael and your dedicated ROCKFISH Games Team