2022 Roadmap, Hottest FAQs & Drake System Teaser
Where has this year gone? The end of December is nearly upon us! Holy scrap, what a journey so far! After over three years of hard work, we launched EVERSPACE 2 in Early Access with a rocket launch release in January. We sold three times as many copies as the predecessor within the first week and hit 91% positive reviews right out of the gate. This massive success was followed by the release of two major content packs, Zharkov: The Vortex and Khaït Nebula: Stranger Skies, both extremely well received, with the game currently sitting at 93% positive reviews. Last but not least, we also partnered with our friends at Microsoft, again, to bring EVERSPACE 2 to Xbox Game Pass for PC allowing us to make an even better space game for all pilots no matter what platform they’re playing on.
Thanks so much to every single pilot who has put their faith in us. Apart from all the glowing but also critical feedback to help us make a better game, the financial commitment from daring test pilots means a ton to us. This enables us to stay fully independent, allowing us to make a game that our team is super excited about. EVERSPACE 2 is probably one of the most expensive Early Access titles out there, so yeah, thanks again for your trust.
Before we talk about what’s coming, let’s have a quick look at what’s already been added to EVERSPACE 2! We see the question about how complete the game is popping up quite a lot, which is very understandable.
With the most recent content update, Khaït Nebula: Stranger Skies, about 65-70% of the planned story content is in the game, and five out of six or seven planned companions have joined Adam on his journey. That said, we might still add more perks to some or all companions if we have enough time and, most importantly, cool ideas (knowing our team, the latter won’t be the bottleneck).
We also brought back some beloved features from the Prototype (aka the demo), like the Shadow creatures and, hopefully, the side mission with those dodgy scientists asking you to realign a bunch of solar panels in a future update (this was meant to be a multi-staged side mission spanning across multiple solar systems, so pencil this in as a maybe).
There are currently four out of seven star systems to explore. With Ceto and Union being the largest, the current world content is close to 70%, not factoring in any endgame content or procedurally generated locations, though.
We have eight out of nine player ship classes (89%), with tier 3 and 4 models as well as additional wing types yet to come, so the current player ship content is actually closer to 50%. Gear-wise, we have four out of five tiers already implemented. Legendaries will be introduced in 2022. We’ll also add more weapon types and sets, as well as more consumables and devices. I’d say we’re at 75% of the gear you’ll see at launch.
Except for trading features, all gameplay systems are in place. However, not all are done yet. For instance, crafting will receive a significant overhaul. Then, there are essential features like localization, difficulty and accessibility settings, as well as porting EVERSPACE 2 to Linux, Mac, Xbox, and PlayStation. In terms of total dev time, we’re close to 80% of a 5+ year-long production, not including any potential post-launch DLC.
Ok, now let’s take a closer look at what content we plan to release and when:
EVERSPACE 2 — Rogue’s Debut, Spring 2022
The spring update will bring the Rogue player ship sub-class, the remaining light fighter class as well as additional rear engines and hulls for all lights and heavies. Furthermore, look forward to a major crafting overhaul, where you can unlock blueprints by acquiring them in different ways (loot, buy, dismantle) and determine the outcome of your items’ attributes as well as better trading opportunities and resource gathering/processing. Along with new equipment and challenges, we also plan to raise the player level, introducing another set of player perks.
International pilots will be pleased to hear that we’ll add UI and text language support for German, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, too. Last but not least, we’ll add a bit more story content with English voice acting and substitute all current TTS placeholder dialogues.
EVERSPACE 2 — Drake: Gang Wars, Summer 2022
In summer, it’s gonna be all about Drake, the new star system. Drake introduces an intense conflict between three rival factions. Unlike previous reveals of new star systems in EVERSPACE 2, Drake will be accessible via a new side mission starting in Union and can be explored even before playing through the campaign thus far, adding more open-world appeal to the game. For more information on what new adventures await, check out the teaser at the bottom of this news update.
EVERSPACE 2 — Ancients Rifts, Autumn 2022
This update Introduces a sliver of endgame content and will be released sometime after Gamescom. Using these first Ancient Rifts, daring pilots will be able to venture into the most dangerous areas of the game and hunt legendary equipment. We’re still working on the game design, but imagine some high-risk/reward mechanics you may have come across in other looter titles, but in space! This should provide plenty of (new) content to toy around with until the full release.
Ancient Rifts will likely be our last big release for 2022. From there, we’ll be head-down, working towards launch.
EVERSPACE 2 v1.0, Early 2023
Launch! Completing the game’s content, adding final polish, squashing as many pesky bugs as possible, and porting EVERSPACE 2 to Linux, Mac, Xbox, and PlayStation will take us six to nine months after the previous beat (we’ll partner with a specialized porting house for the console ports, though, so we can put all our effort in the PC version of the game).
Apart from the final act of the campaign and additional side missions, the full release will also feature all tier 3 and tier 4 player ships as well as much-requested difficulty and accessibility settings. Oh, and a bunch of nice achievements, of course!
We’re constantly updating the FAQ channel on our Discord, but we thought it might be worth highlighting three hot topics that continue to pop up on the Steam forums and our social media channels.
Will Save Games Wiped at v1.0?
We’re 99.99% sure that’s a yes! Sure, we haven’t had to wipe saves since the Early Access release, which is great, but do understand it could happen due to major technical changes along the way, especially when implementing the endgame. Even if backed up save games would still be compatible at v1.0, we cannot guarantee those would work (we know some pilots will still try).
After all, Early Access pilots zooming to the finale of the campaign and into the endgame will miss out on all the content that we’re still adding to the game in earlier star systems. Plus, there’s a high chance that balancing could be completely off for anyone still using an Early Access save after full release.
Frankly speaking, no one should play our game during its Early Access phase if they can’t live with the thought that they are going to lose all of their progress. Fair warning to everyone on the fence: We’ll raise the price reasonably, yet significantly, at full release. So, no complaining! You have been warned, no matter what! 😉
Is EVERSPACE 2 open-world?
Yes! Now, I’m aware that this will inevitably cause some pilots to make a case about why THEY think EVERSPACE 2 is NOT an open-world game (because of brief loading screens, story-gated content, level boundaries), and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, we perfectly understand their point of view. However, we think it is not all black and white, and there are plenty of examples of iconic “open-worldish” ARPGs that wouldn’t match their high expectations, either.
The popular vote is clear: Not only is EVERSPACE 2 considered to be open-world by thousands of space pilots, making “open-world” one of the top tags on Steam, Valve was also perfectly fine to feature the game in the 2021 Open-World Sale under:
Making the leap from a linear roguelike to an open-world action RPG in space has been the very centerpiece of all our communication about EVERSPACE 2. While you cannot travel in any direction “forever” like in proc-gen space games, we have spent a ton of time and effort to make exploration of locations meaningful. We want you to roam and do your thing at your own pace and order mostly independent from progression through the campaign.
Putting quality over quantity, we went for a hand-crafted game world with high-quality assets and baked global illumination in EVERSPACE 2. Consequently, there are technical limitations because of this major design choice, like sending pilots back when reaching the boundary of a location and having brief loading screens between supralight travel and maps.
For one, streaming world data on the fly has never been UE4’s strong suit, so we had to divide our massive, hand-crafted(!) game world into chunks (EVERSPACE 2 is probably the largest, most versatile, and ambitious space combat game ever made NOT relying on procedural content generation). Secondly, even though it’s just a cluster of a galaxy, we’re using two separate game scenes to handle the vastness of open space and the high level of detail required even deep down in underground caves, while collision detection and hit-scan must still work at 10km away at the boundary of any location. Even if SSDs were 10x faster, there would always be a “loading screen” because your CPU is working hard on initiating the next new game scene when swapping back and forth between supralight and open space or planetary scenes.
Since it has been suggested a few times, playing some animation to hide the transition wouldn’t make any sense because in EVERSPACE 2 you can already see what’s right in front of you, making the experience arguably more immersive than hiding a hub-based open-world structure with wormholes and jump gates between hand-crafted maps like in other iconic space sims/shooters. And no, creating a sheer endless amount of animations for each possible approach to any given location is just not feasible for obvious reasons. Open space games are technical beasts. 😅
That said, we understand that some pilots have a very specific take on the open-world (space) genre, especially when certain areas are story-gated for obvious dramaturgic reasons, so we’ve changed our communication to semi-open-world to be more accurate.
Will You Get Rid Of Level Scaling?
Nope! While we understand that some pilots really hate any kind of level-scaling, we believe there are good reasons to adjust enemy difficulty when coming back to lower-level areas. Like, one-shotting a formerly mighty destroyer is just bollocks and doesn’t make any sense in terms of plausible world-building unless you want to throw any kind of immersion right out the window. Of course, pilots should feel much more powerful when going back to Ceto or Union because they earned it, so we only make subtle changes to enemy stats and their behavior, still tweaking the system along with the overall game balancing. Think of level ranges that enemies can adapt to. I mean, lore-wise, wouldn’t you expect enemies to improve their gear over time, too?
Drake System Teaser — Fire & Ice
The release of the Drake system will be our biggest beat in 2022, scheduled for June/July when the big online gaming events are happening. Following the two comparatively smaller star systems, Zharkov and the Khaït Nebula, Drake will not only be significantly larger but also our most extreme system yet! Look forward to mesmerizing locations featuring fire, ice, and everything in between!
Set in a system of natural extremes, three rival factions fight for dominance over the rich resources of the Drake system. You will have to keep a low profile to not be caught in the crossfire, while also not becoming a victim to the harsh environment. Lucky for you, one of your companions will be able to pull some strings with one of the gangs to get a foot in the door while you wait for an opportunity to take advantage of the complex situation.
Last-minute addition: While I was drafting yet another 2K+ words piece, ZeTeam worked on a surprise 2021 recap/2022 teaser trailer, awesome sauce!
Well, we hope everyone is enjoying the EVERSPACE 2 Early Access so far! Before all Felsenfische swim into their well-deserved winter holidays, we’ll hope to see you one more time in 2021 at the weekly ROCKFISH Games Show on Twitch and YouTube. Erik Schrader, ace pilot and beloved Community Ambassador, will take you on one more mesmerizing tour through the Khaït Nebula before signing off, too. Be there, or be square, this Friday from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm CET / 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET / 11:00 am to 1:00 pm PT. 🚀💥🙌
Keep it civil on the forums, and have a wonderful winter holiday season!
Michael and your dedicated ROCKFISH Games Team, aka ZeFelsenfische