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You look at the digital shelves of gaming today, and there’s a gap in that collection. There are a hundred shooter games released at any given moment, retro classics are making a comeback and everyone still enjoys pure speed and the thrill of taking a dream car screaming around a corner while not having to worry about the bill that’ll come from their next monthly service.

Space combat and exploration though? There’s just not enough out there in that genre. The final frontier is just dying to be explored once again, not only through cutting edge visuals but through new ideas that result in unheard of spins on a classic tale of taking to the stars and earning a fortune amongst them. Back in 2015, Everspace was one such game with an ambitious aim to achieve escape velocity and explore a new region of space that was home to rogue-like elements along the way.

The formula worked a treat, Everspace earned a devoted following and several years later a sequel is about jump out of hyperspace and blast its way forward with a new set of ideas and features. One of the bigger pivots between Everspace games, is how this sequel is switching from the Rogue-like system towards a more traditional setup of ever-increasing numbers and upgrades via a good ol’ loot ‘n shoot system.

Players will be able to level up throughout the course of their adventure, growing in power and equipping new weapons to their spaceships in a galaxy that is growing increasingly hostile. Why the change though, besides narrative reasons? “I think in the beginning, we wanted to do an open-world game just like Everspace 2 is about to become,” chief designer Uwe Wütherich explained.

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This was something we’d been developing back in the mobile days at Fish Labs, like Galaxy on Fire 1, 2 and 3. This is actually our genre and the roguelike formula was born out of a compromise like having procedurally-generated levels and a rather short game loop with a really small team. So this is actually the truth behind Everspace 1 and 2.

It’s nothing new to us, doing an open-world game. Just the scope, the quality and the complexity of the game world, this is something new for us.

At the same time, that path to power will also focus on the companions you can recruit within Everspace 2, and how their own personal side-missions will help spearhead growth in new directions via the returning and expanded perk system. “We have the perks, which we had in Everspace 1. Those are pilot and ship perks but now we’re housing companions on our homebase and this is also something new to Everspace 2,” Wütherich said.

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Those companions, they come with tasks and side-missions, you can even say a grinding task. If you do that, it will unlock perks in many different fields which is also an RPG feature. So this is also something that will open up ways to new equipment and playstyles for the player. Together, there are 8-10 companions so you can imagine the perk trees that come along with them.

Beyond that, other RPG elements include a new focus on your spaceship, with an entire arsenal of parts and classes waiting to be uncovered in the vast reaches of space. “I think it’s a broader variety of the ships and the customisation of the ships. We had a really small number of ships in Everspace 1, we wanted to do more but with a small team we just had the ones that we could do,”Wütherich  explained.

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This from a design and gameplay perspective is one of the biggest changes for me. The ships from Everspace 1 were already based on a modular scheme but now with Everspace 2 we are really extending that to a far greater number of possible combinations and designs. I think before we had four classes, now we have nine subclasses and three major classes of ships so there’s a lot more to choose from and experience. Just in terms of ships and gears, devices and weapons that all comes together to plan.

Everspace’s comunity has also been vocal with changes and additions that they wanted to see in Everspace 2, requests that developer Rockfish Games have had a good hard look at requesting during the development of the sequel. “People were asking for exactly that, the open world , an exploration feature. Not getting a new procedurally generated level every time they started from scratch,” Wütherich said.

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They wanted to have a larger variety of ships and equipment and more enemies, more NPCs. They also wanted multiplayer of course, but this is something we won’t do for Everspace 2. And of course more story content and more missions, more lore and more background.

So far, Everspace 2 is looking like a handsome return to the cosmos that haven’t been seen since the days of Freelancer and Wing Commander. Don’t just take my word for it though! Everspace 2 may only be out in 2021, but we’ll be launching a competition tomorrow that will have twenty keys to the current prototype build up for grabs. If you want in, set your excitement to Warp factor hype and engage.

Last Updated: May 4, 2020

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