We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

RimWorld Biotech expansion lets you have kids and mess with genes

The upcoming RimWorld Biotech update, which you can try out now, adds systems for reproduction and children, genetic modification, and brain-robot interfaces

RimWorld Biotech expansion: A top-down view of a school facility in RimWorld, with teachers and children going about their daily business

The third RimWorld expansion is called Biotech, and it’s coming alongside update 1.4 for the sci-fi management game. This is a big one that kind of buries the lead, because with Biotech, your colonists will be able to conceive and bear children (through both natural and artificial means), meaning your colonies can now continue for literal generations.

Producing and raising children, as you’d expect, introduces a whole new set of challenges to RimWorld, as well as some rather serious moral dilemmas. With update 1.4, colonists will be able to become pregnant, but you’ll also be able to grow children in vats, as well as engage in some gene-modding to create supersoldiers or xenohumans who have traits adapted specifically to the alien environment.

There are other ethics issues as well: you can ensure that children raised in your colony have access to education and enrichment, which ultimately results in more capable adult colonists who have a wider range of choices when they grow up. Or you can just leave them to develop in growth vats to create armies of cheap soldiers and workers – if you’re running that kind of colony, we suppose.

Also included in update 1.4 is the new mechanitor, a colonist who has a special brain implant that allows them to command mechanoids telepathically. Mechanoids already come in quite a few shapes and sizes, and the Biotech expansion adds a bunch more.

RimWorld creator Tynan Sylvester says the Biotech update is meant to inject RimWorld with some of the oldest and most relatable drama we know of as humans – the kind that comes from familial relationships. It’s taken a while, he says, to get to the point where RimWorld was robust enough to hande this kind of subject matter.

“I wanted to make sure we had the development power to make the game generate these kinds of powerful family-oriented emotions without cutting corners or excessive jank,” Sylvester writes in the latest update. “Biotech being the longest expansion development cycle, with the most developers we’ve ever had, I decided that it was time to bite off this big challenge.”

The Biotech update should be out on the main branch of RimWorld in the “next few weeks,” but you can try out the early build in the meantime by opting into the ‘unstable’ beta branch in the Steam options menu for RimWorld. Check out our list of the best RimWorld mods if you want to make things even weirder.