Kerbal Space Program 2 was announced earlier today during Gamescom 2019’s opening festivities, delighting fans of complex space sims and janky-ass spaceship explosions in equal measure. But beyond the fact that Kerbal Space Program 2 launches sometime next year on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, details are light.
The cinematic reveal trailer (embedded below for your convenience) doesn’t showcase any actual gameplay, but it does hint at several new constructions that weren’t possible in the first game, including wheel-based ground vehicles and expansive colony structures. Whether these actually are new features, or are just window dressing for the announcement, remains to be seen.
Kerbal Space Program 2 is being developed by Star Theory Games, a Washington-based indie development studio that previously operated under by name Uber Entertainment — Super Monday Night Combat, Planetary Annihilation, and Wayward Sky were Uber’s main claims to fame. Almost exactly a year ago, Uber Entertainment split into two new studios: Planetary Annihilation Inc, which would continue development and support for Planetary Annihilation, and Star Theory Games, which we now know is constructing the new Kerbal.
Squad, the original studio behind Kerbal Space Program, hasn’t been involved in the franchise since Take-Two Interactive purchased the rights to the game in May of 2017, after creator/lead designer Felipe Falanghe left the Kerbal team to pursue
Lü Bu another project. Take-Two subsidiary Private Division will publish Kerbal Space Program 2.
The original Kerbal is revered among space simulation enthusiasts and lovers of wacky antics alike, as the game manages to deftly walk the line between both. If you want to learn what an “apoapsis” is, figure out how to reliably calculate a launch window, or master the art of achieving escape velocity without vastly overshooting your target, Kerbal will gladly oblige. Conversely, if you’re only interested in building absurd spaceships and watching them explode on the launch pad, there’s no better avenue for such tomfoolery than Kerbal Space Program.
I once built an intercontinental delivery ship that utilized a delicately balanced lattice of scaffolding and liquid-fuel rockets to launch with its cargo, achieve orbit, and then land on the other side of the planet, all in a fraction of the time that it would take even the fastest jet to make the same delivery. It only required a single Kerbal pilot to operate, and its reusable, single-stage design dramatically reduced the cost of launch, as well as the amount of pollution and space debris caused by said launch. It could even be used to cheaply ferry cargo and/or passengers back and forth from an orbiting space station, were such a thing to exist.
I could never really get it to work, of course — take-off was a breeze, and while making the in-flight trajectory adjustments needed to accurately hit the landing site took practice, even that became second nature after a time. The real trick was landing the damn thing. Apparently landing a spaceship is hard??? Maybe I would have fared better with the added fidelity of a HOTAS setup (versus the default keyboard controls), but it’s also possible that I’m just not that good of a pilot. But you know what? Designing that thing was so much fun that I didn’t really care that it failed. And that’s the true beauty of Kerbal Space Program; even when you fail, you still have fun.
Still feel bad about all those dead Kerbals, though.