Chill Out: This War Of Mine Devs Announce Frostpunk

This War of Mine developers 11 Bit Studios are returning with another grim survival scenario to ponder how much we’re willing to give up our humanity etc. This War of Mine’s modern-day-ish setting was inspired by the Siege of Sarajevo, with regular people trying to get by in a war-torn city, but 11 Bit are going a bit more unreal with their next. Today they announced Frostpunk [official site], set in a frozen world with steam-powered technology. I’ll tell you one thing about morality in this hard world: I’ll devour the first nobber I see wearing a top hat with goggles.

11 Bit are a bit vague on quite what Frostpunk is. The closest I can get you to that is this here quote from the announcement:

“Although Frostpunk utilizes strategy & management elements, its core revolves around empathy & decision-making rather than optimization and resource management.”

I see, I see! So maybe a bit like This War of Mine but cold? Do check out Wot Alec Thought of This War of Mine. And this… ’empathy’ thing 11 Bit talk about? What’s that? I think this quote is about how you feel when it gets nippy or something:

“What does this change mean? What is culture when morality stands in the way of existence? Think about how survival may, in the end, leave us different beings. Whether worse, better, stronger, weaker or, last but not least, more or less humane – that is debatable.”

Frostpunk is due some time in 2017. Here’s an unhappy little teaser trailer:


  1. zxcasdqwecat says:


  2. Plank says:

    Taking that trailer literally, I see we get to pilot a ship that’s quite nippy in tight places.

  3. cpt_freakout says:

    Though the name makes me think of ice robot giants with a heart of coal, these guys’ record with TWoM means we might finally get a decent game about the concept of survival in games themselves. All the survival sims, while fun, have horrible implications not so much about us as humans, but about our current ideology masquerading as ‘human nature’.

    The “no art” mod in Rimworld is possibly the worst offender of them all. I’m only (half) kidding. :P

    • Harlander says:


      Particularly that last sentence: wha?

      Feel like elaborating?

  4. Ross Angus says:

    The narrator sounds like Julian Barratt, so I was reminded of this.

    Alice: may I humbly suggest “rocket” as a Scottish equivalent of “nobber”? Admittedly, it’s a bit more west coast than east, but they have a way with words, over there.

  5. zer0sum says:

    Alice, I think you need a new thing besides calling every game a “X” ’em up. I’m like 10 for 10 guessing that you wrote a headline based on the “X” em’ up format.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      But then you can’t call something like Grow Home an “up ’em up”.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      I… didn’t call anything an “’em up” in this post?

      I’m also put out by your suggestion that I’m only grinding one joke into dust right now. I’ve got loads on the go.

  6. baseless_drivel says:

    Frostpunk: An exciting new genre of punk in which you seek to shatter the plebian placating power known as “internet democracy” by uniting the inter-squabbling parties against the real enemy that’s pitting us all against each other: The United States Illuminati. Fire up those phonepunk apps and still the powers-that-be with your cold, cold social media retorts.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Frostpunk: A modern Canadian youth subculture, notable for wantonly waxing their skis with wax ill-suited to the temperature, not sharing the marshmallows they brought for their hot chocolate, occasionally walking through doors instead of holding them open for others, and other vile acts of civil disobedience.

  7. Dances to Podcasts says:

    “its core revolves around empathy & decision-making rather than optimization and resource management”

    Good, I say. Too many games these days are too much about minmaxing numbers and too little about living the fantasy. Let’s hope someone succeeds in overcoming that.

    • syndrome says:

      Well, for starters, how do you quantify empathy?

      How can anyone make an algebraic (or even logical) mechanic without any numbers involved?

      Did you actually think about that, or your idea of a game is that it can be as complex as reality is, but ofc without the real-life tedium?

      But wait, how do you remove anything from a system of intrinsic values without compromising the remaining values? And where’s fun then?

      If simulated real (i.e. reductive non-algebraic simulacrum) is fun at all, why don’t we simulate it more often? Especially the shitting/pissing part. Why, it’s art!! It’s a compulsive biological part of our lives that lasts just long enough for you to remember it. But is REAL actually FUN?

      Or is fantasy just a fantasy, torn apart like a lucid dream, and improbable by definition?

      “its core revolves around empathy & decision-making rather than optimization and resource management”

      What I read from this is: bullshit. Role-play. Undeliverable promises.

      Empathy is still just an evaluation of the concept of impersonating other beings and their values within your (sub)consciousness. There are values, there is minmaxing, regardless of how ignorant you are to their existence.

  8. Kefren says:

    The trailer made me think of the opening chapter of Jeff Long’s novel “The Descent”. One of my favourite openings for slow-burn tension, where you’re not even sure if there is a threat or not, and what form it takes.

  9. Faults says:

    I really wish Prefixpunk subgenres would just stop. Especially those that do the whole alt-Victorian-era fetishisation thing. It’s getting really really really really really really dull.

  10. anark10n says:

    So nobody’s going to call out these devs for putting out a useless teaser trailer? Why? This is the same shit the AAA industry is doing and they get called on this shit.