There’s snow hope in this Frostpunk trailer

Bit nippy

Frostpunk [official site] sounds like a musical subgenre invented on the hoof by a jolly Kerrang reporter but it’s not. It’s an upcoming videogame invented by the makers of the very un-jolly (but not bad) This War of Mine. It’s set in a freezing future where earth is caught in a global whiteout and you have to manage a circular city that’s growing around a generator – your people’s principle source of warmth and energy. All the while tough decisions have to be made, like: “Graham is dead. Should we eat Graham?”

Here, there’s a new vid to show you.

As with War O’ Mine it looks to be one part survivor management and one part difficult ethics. The frosty society will need to choose what to do with people too heavily wounded to work, for example. You could allow them to live on and strive to accommodate them and retain your sense of humanity and compassion. Or just do ‘em in, the SCROUNGERS.

It’s a pity we can’t see more of the cogs and switches but Adam got a short hands-on at lights and images smorgasbord E3 and told us all about it on the following week’s podcast too. He makes it sound quite good, with all its Victorian-style child labour laws and relentless coal-burning. A previous trailer was more cinematic, focusing on a dangerous climb up an icy cliff. It’s very bleak. But that’s what happens when you annoy mother nature.

There’s still no concrete release date, but it’s expected some time this year.

19 Comments

  1. Drib says:

    Can’t help but wonder where they’re getting the building materials in this thing. Are they mining it and forging metal? There’s no trees, so no wood. It’s just odd.

    But, game looks sorta neat. If it’s priced not stupidly, I look forward to picking it up.

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      Given the “in the grim-freezing future; there is only freezing” atmosphere; I sort of assumed that being building materials was the ‘safer duties’ mentioned in the ‘child injured in industrial accident’ option screen.

      Filthy urchins, if they are too clumsy to build the future; the future shall be built of them!

  2. Kollega says:

    Like I keep expressing every time something horribly bleak and dystopian pops up, and keep getting dismissed as “stupid naive idealist” for… I really damn wish that someone made a game where you put in the effort to build a good future, and might even succeed. Dystopias are all well and good as a how-not-to-do-it guide, that is a given. But when all our visions of the future are bleak and dismal and about trying to survive in a horrible dystopian craphole, it gets more than a little tiresome and discouraging.

    I mean, isn’t solving problems a fundamental component of fun in video games? And isn’t it especially fun when your problem-solving can amount to something more optimistic than “dying a little less quickly”? I imagine that cracking the extremely hard task of building a better future is exactly the kind of difficult problem that seasoned strategy gamers would be interested in taking on. And I mean, of course all of us have different visions of what constitutes “a good future” – but surely that’s just the reason to offer several different visions of one, maybe even in a single game where you can pick and choose your direction as you wish?

    I honestly feel like in our popular culture, the idea of “what makes a good future, and how do we get there?” isn’t discussed nearly as often as it should be. Even in the most superficial ways, nevermind anything with depth. And games, with their interactivity, and the long-standing genre of building-oriented strategy gaming, are a perfect medium for fostering such a discussion.

      • Kollega says:

        Isn’t the point of that basically “you can’t win and everything is bad”, though?

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          Graever says:

          Well no. You can absolutely win in Fate of the World. It’s just really hard.

          Which is the whole point, building a good future is hard and one of the things that made Fate of the World such a good game was precisely that it gave you the chance of succeeding without belittling the effort it would require.

          • Kollega says:

            I see. I just figured it was pretty much unwinnable… but maybe the several reviewers I read about playing it simply weren’t “very good strategy gamers with understanding of the subject matter” :P

          • Flavorfish says:

            Fate of the World is one of the most interesting strategy games I’ve ever played (and one of my favorites!)

            That said, without the rebalancing mod that can be found for it, I would really hesitate to call it a good game. Information isn’t presented clearly, tradeoffs / consequences are not properly conveyed at all, and certain mechanics / systems are forcibly tweaked to be more difficult than in reality to serve an agenda (That said, the game entirely sidesteps politics and so this might have been a fair compromise.)

            To me, it feels a sequel worthy prototype.

    • DoctorDaddy says:

      Isn’t that what the Civilization series is about? Seems like the futuristic Anno games fit the bill as well.

      • Kollega says:

        Kind of like the futuristic Anno games, yes. But that’s probably the only series that does something similar. Civilization doesn’t really count for me, because it ends at our times, and leaves the future in question. Except for Beyond Earth – which wasn’t too well-received, but did for once bring up the question of what road to take towards a better future, and let the player decide.

        So what I’m basically saying is “more of those sort of games please”. With more in-depth depictions of futuristic problem-solving, preferably.

    • gentlehosen says:

      Oh I absolutely agree with you there, it’s the reason I bounced hard off of This War of Mine, and why I’ll be avoiding this one entirely.

      I would certainly love to explore the positive sides of potential futures, particularly with transhumanist ideals; it seems like 90% of the time any time transhumanism comes up it’s in a “here’s how it destroys humanity” sense, and the rest of the time it’s portrayed neutrally but in the middle of some other (usually cyberpunk) dystopia.

      • Kollega says:

        I know few people care, but what I’d personally love to see is exploration of how we can actually use transhumanism and related technologies to get more in harmony with nature and the Universe. Which I’m pretty sure is what the entire Harmony Affinity was about in Beyond Earth, if you play it optimistically. And for a real-world example, take the whole technogaianism movement, which is about using high technology to reduce our impact on the environment. Of course, this would require first and foremost grand social change… but again, a rich field for real science fiction and real thought about how to change things for the better!

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          Nauallis says:

          Real-world technogaianism would require that the people that mostly tout such a philosophy actually learn about environmental science, genetic engineering, chemistry, and logic. As you say, grand social change. Like accepting GMOs. Retroviral DNA engineering. Understanding of the complexity of weather systems, environmental chemistry, and economic industrial externalities.

      • 11 bit wujek says:

        Oh, who said you couldn’t win in that game? Yes, you can, and this is the challenge for you.
        (11 bit studios guy)

    • oyog says:

      Not a game, but the novella Engine Summer by John Crowley is a beautiful piece of science fiction about a far less bleak post-apocalypse than what’s become the mainstream portrayal of the future.

    • Caicai-Vilu says:

      Interesting point of view. One game I can recommend is “Stellaris” from Paradox, a strategic 4x science-fiction game that lets you rule a civilization (human or otherwise) from the beginning of FTL travels. The game has multiple options on diplomacy, contact with other species, degree of freedom and rights of citizens among others choices.

    • April March says:

      I don’t think there are any games in it, but have you heard of the solarpunk genre?

      • Kollega says:

        Yes, I have. And now I wish that more people picked up on it and made fiction in it >_>

        Honestly, I feel like the solarpunk atmosphere and worldview could make for a pretty good indie game of some kind. Either narratively, by presenting a civilization that has recently discovered how to live in harmony with itself and the planet and is now getting used to it and enjoying the benefits – or mechanically, by letting the player actually pull such a transformation off with their own effort.

    • Someoldguy says:

      We’ve got games that allow you to reach the near future in a much better state than we are in, like Civ and Anno. All cities happy and pollution free, population not expanding out of control? Sounds great.

      Then we’ve got games that start with the near future and go onwards from there, like pretty much any space 4x ever made.

      What we perhaps lack are games that start modern and go forwards without using ‘escape into space’ as the storyline. That is understandable, because you’re asking the game developers to understand and solve each and every challenge we now face, then implement a game that not only allows you to solve them all concurrently but does so in a fun and engaging way.

      If Frostpunk allows you to reach a stable state where the setbacks are manageable and life is definitely going to improve going forward, that makes it positive, surely? The disasters have been faced and overcome. I’ll take that over much of the survival genre where finite resources means you can only stave off inevitable defeat.

      If a space rock impacted tomorrow and wiped out human civilization, leaving a few struggling survivors, would that be a bleak dystopian future or one in which you had the wherewithal to craft something positive if only you fought hard enough for it? The asteroid that doomed the dinosaurs was absolutely devastating for them, but it made the rise of the mammals possible. It certainly makes things more straightforward for developers than juggling rampant capitalism, religious fundamentalism, incompatible political world views, economic imbalance between the 1st and 3rd world and environmental meltdown.

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