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Pony Island 2 Panda Circus release date estimate and latest news

Developer Daniel Mullins returns with Pony Island 2 Panda Circus, and we’ve got all the latest news and trailers for the surreal indie sequel.

Pony Island 2 Panda Circus release date: SungWon ‘ProZD’ Cho as he appears in one of the arcade machines, as an endless runner plays out below.

When is the Pony Island 2 release date? Acclaimed indie developer Daniel Mullins returns with a surprise follow-up to 2016’s cult arcade game about ponies and the devil. Another serving of metafictional genre-bending is on the cards, as Mullins returns to his inaugural game after the critical success of Inscryption, his last and most ambitious project.

Pony Island 2 Panda Circus takes the retro game framework of its predecessor and dials it up to 11, even incorporating Inscryption’s blend of 2D and 3D space. As the first sequel from Daniel Mullins Games, Pony Island 2’s announcement at The Game Awards last year took everyone by surprise – but it’s clear that this satanic satire on videogames isn’t over just yet. If Inscryption’s anything to go by, it may well be one of the best indie games of all time. One thing’s for sure, this is not a game about ponies… though we can’t rule out the pandas just yet.

Pony Island 2 Panda Circus release date: An ancient arcade machine is framed by a bestial satanic figure, as its screen depicts CRT snow.

Pony Island 2 release date estimate

Pony Island 2 is due to release between 2025 and 2026 according to the official announcement trailer that debuted at The Game Awards 2024.

While Pony Island released less than a month after its official trailer dropped, Pony Island 2 appears closer in scope to Inscryption than its predecessor, which launched just over a year after its announcement trailer. On that basis, we expect Pony Island 2 to follow a similar development schedule to the latter rather than the former.

Pony Island 2: Panda Circus will arrive on PC at launch, though it may appear on Mac and Linux at a later date much like Pony Island and The Hex. Inscryption has also made its way onto PlayStation and Nintendo consoles, though given Pony Island 2 is a sequel, it seems less likely that it’ll follow suit.

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Pony Island 2 trailers

The Pony Island 2: Panda Circus announcement trailer aired during The Game Awards 2023. This trailer reveals that the long-awaited sequel more closely resembles Inscryption than it does its predecessor, spanning a diverse range of genres and visual styles rather than Pony Island’s pixel arcade format.

It also confirms voice actor and comedian SungWon ‘ProZD’ Cho’s involvement in the project. He appears in brief live-action sequences as King Yan, who may serves as one of the lordly deities the nomad must overcome on their journey to free themselves from The Earth Prison.

Pony Island 2 Panda Circus release date: The nomad stands on a riverbank, holding out a thumb drive carved in mysterious runes.

Pony Island 2 story

Pony Island 2: Panda Circus is billed as a “phantasmagorical voyage through time, myth, divinity, and video games” – in short, it’s an authentic Daniel Mullins experience. Our protagonist is a young and nameless nomad with ambitions for world domination, who lands themselves in The Earth Prison after meeting a premature end.

This makeshift underworld is presided over by a set of lordly deities who serve as jailers to the prison’s denizens – and as luck would have it, they love their arcade machines. To escape the Earth Prison with their soul and their sanity intact, the nomad must beat the deities at their own arcade game, whatever form it may take. In true Daniel Mullins fashion, we expect plenty of plot twists and videogame metanarratives as the nomad makes their bid to escape.

Pony Island 2 Panda Circus release date: One of the arcade machines depicting a MOBA style top-down minigame in which a panda dukes it out with their foe in the middle lane.

Pony Island 2 gameplay

The announcement trailer establishes Pony Island 2’s core gameplay loop, as the nomad explores The Earth Prison’s 3D space in a first-person perspective to find arcade machines to boot up and play using their trusty (probably demonic) thumb drive.

This game-within-a-game format conceit should be familiar to Daniel Mullins Games fans, and the arcade sequences we’ve seen thus far include the return of Pony Island’s endless runner and code programming sequences, as well as incorporating parodies of popular point-and-click adventures, resource management games, and even MOBAs.

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Composer Jonah Senzel also returns to continue his long-term collaboration with Daniel Mullins Games for the sequel. His original soundtracks lend the genre-hopping nature of Mullins’ projects an audial throughline that’s served them very well in the past. We get a taste of these latest musical offerings in a preview of the track ‘Middle Kingdom’, which blends retro and synth in the same haunting manner as the original Pony Island soundtrack.

Now that you’re up to speed with Pony Island 2, check out some of the other upcoming PC games to keep on your radar in 2024. We’ve also got some of the best puzzle games and story games if you’re partial to a mystery or two.