Kerbal Space Program 2: First-look preview from PAX West 2019

Developer Star Theory is looking to go where no Kerbal has gone before, as Shacknews takes a first look at Kerbal Space Program 2 from PAX West.


Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of a strange race of green little creatures. Their continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds. To boldly go where no Kerbal has gone before! The journey of the Kerbals is set to continue with Kerbal Space Program 2, unveiled during Gamescom by publisher Private Division and new developer Star Theory.

In the original Kerbal Space Program, players got to build vessels, launch rockets, and explore the close reaches of Earth's orbit. That was, of course, whenever those rockets weren't exploding into millions of pieces. There are some questions about where the Kerbals go from here. Taking over from developer Squad, new developer Star Theory wants to go farhter than anyone could possibly imagine in KSP2. That'll take a whole lot of new mechanics and ideas, so to get an idea of where the series is headed, Shacknews went to PAX West to check out a special hands-off presentation.

Kerbal Space Program 2 - PAX West

One way to describe Kerbal Space Program would be intimidating. There are a lot of moving parts involved in piecing things together for space travel. With that said, one of Star Theory's big goals will be to make the overall building and space travelling experience more accessible to the user.

The whole process will be more visually appealing, as well. In particular, Star Theory has worked to improve many of the visual aspects of launching a rocket. Players will find effects, audio, and camera work redone in order to create a more satisfying launch experience. Of course, skill will still be required to get your vessel up in the air and keep it up there. Having said that, if your build is still junk, KSP 2 will at least offer more detailed explosions.

The key will be to reach space without your spacecraft blowing up into atoms. That'll mean some new tools for the novice user, like fully animated tutorial missions, an improved user interface, and a new Blueprint Mode. Blueprint Mode makes assembling rockets a little easier with a readable interface. It also offers an easier way to organize components and their assembly.

Kerbal Space Program 2 - PAX West

Star Theory's visual upgrades will extend to the cosmos, with a focus on more detailed topography and surface features. Finding a good landing spot is also a little easier thanks to a new Orientation Meter on the left side of the screen. But exploration is only half the game in Kerbal Space Program 2. Once you land on a whole new rock, it's time to aim farther.

The Kerbals can begin with KSP 2's most intriguing new feature: colonies. Colonies can be built anywhere on the world where you can land. This will present a whole new set of challenges, mainly regarding building and physics. As you develop colonies, you'll gradually gain access to new features and tools. But be careful, because just like rockets and space shuttles, your colonies can also explode if you're careless.

Once your colony is set, it becomes possible to conduct launches directly from that site. That opens the door to space travel across entirely unknown star systems. You'll need to build something greater than the conventional space shuttle to reach the outermost cosmos, but using new tools like nuclear pulse propulsion, it's possible to go beyond what's thought to be possible. To go even farther, it's possible to build Orbital Colonies, which are colonies suspended in the middle of space. This is more ideal for times when you're hanging over gaseous planets or worlds that are otherwise uninhabitable. But again, be cautious when building Orbital Colonies, because if you're not paying attention, you can blow it up and your entire space expedition will be lost.

There's much more to come, but for now, this is merely an introduction to Star Theory's ambitious plans for the KSP series. Kerbal Space Program 2 is coming soon

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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