Our Frostpunk 2 preview finds that developer 11 Bit Studios wants to expand what made the original city builder special while offering a greatly enhanced experience at launch. This is something we learned while at Gamescom this year, as we sat down for an interview with the game’s co-directors. The team doesn’t want to fall victim to ‘sequelitis,’ but it nevertheless aims to give fans as much as possible from the jump.
Whatever way you look at it, Frostpunk 2 has mighty shoes to fill. The original city-building game from 2018 was well-loved by critics and players alike, as evidenced in our Frostpunk review, but the developers at 11 Bit Studios don’t want to just make the same game again. In fact, the team wants to do something both thematically and mechanically different, while still offering the features players want on day one.
One thing Frostpunk 2 is doing out of the gate, which I’m sure will please plenty of players, is launching with an endless mode. The original Frostpunk did get an endless mode as DLC after fan requests, but the team at 11 Bit Studios wants to make sure that the highly requested feature is there right from the start, so it can be iterated on down the line.
“In Frostpunk 1 we launched just with scenarios, and the most requested feature from the community was to get an endless mode, so we did that like half a year after release,” Frostpunk 2 design director Jakub Stokalski says. “We know if we were to release Frostpunk 2 without one, this could be the most requested feature, so we might as well get on with it.
“We don’t want to just do sequelitis, right?” Stokalski continues. “We thought this was a worthy endeavor. On the other hand, I don’t want to make the impression that it’s possible to do everything at the same time. It’s really not, right. It’s really a balancing act and a series of choices that we have to make.”
You’ll also be engaging with this balancing act yourself in Frostpunk 2, as the focus of your civilization moves on from brutal survival to a series of ruthless decisions to keep your burgeoning society alive. The scale of the map is bigger, and there are more social mechanics than ever, but that doesn’t mean 11 Bit Studios has lost sight of what Frostpunk has always been.
“We would not presume to say ‘we’re making a roguelike-ish, endlessly replayable game,’ but we do feel that these new choices will lead to unique playthroughs,” Stokalski says. “There are enough elements interdependent on each other that a simple change in one place can lead to quite different results down the line.
“So basically, what I’m saying is we’ve made some parts quite deep, deeper and more involved, to balance this out. As long as the soup tastes good, it doesn’t matter how many potatoes versus tomatoes you get in there.”
Frostpunk 2 is still set to release sometime in 2024, and you can wishlist the game on Steam while you wait. PCGamesN has more Gamescom 2023 Frostpunk 2 details on the way as well, so keep an eye out.