Oxygen Not Included: Colony Sim From Don’t Starve Devs

Klei’s hit rate is nuts, especially when you consider that they hop genres with each game: from Mark of the Ninja‘s sidescrolling stealthy murderthon, to Don’t Starve‘s topdown survivalthon, to Invisible, Inc.‘s turn-based infiltratathon. Next up is the Oxygen Not Included, a space colony management sim(-thon) that was announced last night at E3.

Here’s the trailer, which was first shown during the PC Gaming Show:

Which gives the flavour of the thing, if not much actual detail. The game also has a Steam page including screenshots which offer a few more hints as to the depth of the simulation, including the one above which shows that you can set the priorities for your colony residents and another which shows wiring connecting different parts of your side-on, 2D base.

I think of all the developers having a crack at it right now, Klei seem the most suited to doing Bullfrog’s Dungeon Keeper proud. The games they’ve made thus far all have a dark sense of humour and make complex systems seem simple, and I think that’s what the genre calls for. And I say that as someone who loves Dwarf Fortress and so who is still somewhat hoping Oxygen Not Included’s residents feel sad sometimes.

If you haven’t already, it’s worth listening to this episode of the Designer Notes podcast with Klei’s Jamie Cheng, in which he talks about his career from its beginnings as an AI programmer at Relic to founding Klei to learning how to be a designer.

ONI, as I’m now calling it, is due for release either late in 2016 or early 2017.


  1. Jams O'Donnell says:

    How can Klei be so good at games? I don’t understand. This looks right up my alley.

    • Evil Pancakes says:

      I think part of why Klei is so good at games is that they have a kind of free-range, organic type of development. They tend to let their designers go nuts and be creative and treat their people well. I remember reading years ago how Klei refused to do crunch after they were forced to do so to finish Shank on time for EA. By not overworking their people and allowing creative freedom it seems they can create really good games.
      Or they just happen to hire some of the best people in the industry. I mean, what do I know, I’m just a random dude on the internet.

      • Siimon says:

        >I mean, what do I know, I’m just a random dude on the internet.

        Part my brain is screaming “Lies! Pancakes is one of them! Insider information! Toot the Klei horn!”

  2. KoenigNord says:

    From those glimpses it reminds me very much on the 90s games Creatures.

    • Telkir says:

      For a moment I was confused, thinking you might have meant the classic C64 game featuring Clyde Radcliffe, then I realised you meant the other Creatures… the one I didn’t play. :P

      Aaanyway, I’m interested to see what Klei comes up with for a colony sim. As the article said they have a knack for coming up with good ideas that aren’t overcomplicated.

  3. Rwlyra says:

    I’d love to try a Klei colony sim, but I feel like the graphics are the least original of any Klei title to date :(
    It feels a bit Pixeljunk cartoonish for me.

  4. preshrunk_cyberpunk says:

    Klei please. You’ve already created so much awesome. I’m not sure I can handle anymore.

  5. heretic says:

    Looking forward to more coverage on this, Mark of the Ninja was a really solid game, I’ve not played Don’t Starve though.

  6. GunnerMcCaffrey says:

    The colonist priority menu looks inspired by/cribbed directly from Rimworld – and why not? Part of Klei’s greatness is knowing how to pick good influences. (As long as we wisely keep refusing to talk about/acknowledge the existence of Shank.)

  7. thedosbox says:

    ONI, as I’m now calling it

    Don’t do that.

    link to en.wikipedia.org