PAX West 2019: Everspace 2 Touts Big Budget, Bigger Promises
Space was once heralded as the final frontier, but for video games, it was one of the first. It's also been one of the most common. There's no shortage of games that take players to the vast reaches of our universe or create entirely new ones from whole cloth.
After the success that was Everspace, an indie roguelite space shooter, developer Rockfish is going even bigger for the recently-revealed sequel.
With a Kickstarter launching in just a few weeks, there's still a lot we don't know about Everspace 2, but after 40 minutes of playtime at PAX, plus a few cheeky teases from the developer hanging out with me as I played, here's what we do know.
If you were a fan of Everspace, there's a lot to take in regarding the sequel.
For starters, I immediately noticed that the visuals were nothing short of magnificent and the UI was crowded with objectives to chase. It's all part of the bigger, better Everspace Rockfish is building.
The developers I spoke to were visibly elated with what's ahead. Maybe that's because the Kickstarter looks poised to be a hit given the passionate community surrounding the game. Maybe it's also because of the teases they alluded to while I was playing, like how the company name on the wing of my spaceship reading "Rockfish" was a placeholder for a highly-requested new feature.
Another much-requested feature was for the series to move away from roguelite elements and into a fully-realized universe with RPG elements. Rockfish is delivering on that promise and as their booth was full of one newbie (see: me) and a whole bunch of passionate fans, it seemed they had made the right choice.
Rockfish stressed that while the series is moving into RPG territory, the core of what fans still want from Everspace remains intact. Things like deep customization returns and goes deeper. Mission variety is laudable again, and actually more so, they claim. The story is meant to feel more robust as well, and will even explain in-universe how the world's roguelite mechanic has disappeared.
Unlike other hardcore space sims, Everspace 2 will retain the series' arcadey physics, too, which were on display for me a few times when I outright crashed into space debris.
Ultimately, it feels like every facet of the game is getting an upgrade to something much greater than Rockfish could've imagined. They've found success, and rather than rest on their laurels, they look to be going bigger across the board, all while listening to their most passionate fans' suggestions.
It feels like a game made not just for the community but, to a healthy extent, with the community. And at their heart, the people at Rockfish seem to be just as excited as their biggest fans.
Everspace 2 will come to Steam Early Access next year before migrating to other platforms in 2021, making it the first game I know of to have announced a 2021 release window.
There are other surprises in store according to whispers I heard during my demo, but I'll let Rockfish spill those space beans on October 2nd when their Kickstarter goes live.
For more coverage from PAX West 2019, be sure to head over to our PAX West 2019 hub.