Frostpunk will come in from the cold on April 24th

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Imagine: Frostpunk, the city builder about ensuring a society’s survival by making trying moral decisions, is at your door demanding to know if you’re sheltering any innocent video games. Do you lie and turn the personified would-be game murderer away, or accept that there’s a universal moral imperative to tell the truth regardless of the consequences?

I’d imagine that’s exactly the sort of dilemma you’ll have to wrestle with when Frostpunk comes out on April 24th. It’s the latest effort from the This War Of Mine devs, and when Adam played it last year it was shaping up to be a chiller success.

That’s you, that is.

In Frostpunk, you see, it’s your job to manage both the infrastructure and society of a city struggling to survive in the frozen aftermath of an unknown global calamity. You’ll have to make choices like whether to put children to work, endorse cannibalism or even euthanize poor injured folk who can no longer earn their keep. Morale is important, but if you make promises you can’t keep then you’ll end up like Johnny Frozen in that trailer.

The game sounds like a meaty burger of a city builder packed with juicy moral pickles. As Adam says in his preview, it’s neat that those tricky decisions stem from systems rather than narrative:

“In an RPG where moral choices spring into a dialogue tree, I only ever pick the nasty options if I’m roleplaying a nasty character. By framing these choices in a citybuilder, where management of resources is key, 11bit are aiming to create genuine dilemmas. There’s a very real chance that playing my way, trying to do the right thing, will create a chain reaction that leads to death and ruin down the line.”

What is the right thing then, eh? Establishing lines that you’ll never cross is all well and good, but I’d rather be on the side of the line where I’ve got a warm belly full of human flesh than the one where I’m starving to death in the cold.

Frostpunk comes out on April 24th, and will be available on the Humble Store, GOG, and Steam for $29.99/€29.99. As far as I can tell, 11 Bit Studios haven’t announced the price point in pounds.

11 Comments

  1. DeadCanDance says:

    I am waiting for this.

  2. Someoldguy says:

    It looks intriguing but I can’t help thinking that releasing 1 month after Surviving Mars may be a bit of an own goal. Even if it’s a darker, edgier and better game that may not help if people’s budget for future-dome-sim-living has already been spent elsewhere.

    • bills6693 says:

      I also think they missed a trick by releasing it in the spring when it’s warming up outside and the freezing winter has ended (at least in the northern hemisphere). I had a real craving for this game in jan/feb because of the setting but it’s kind of died away now. I’ll probably still buy and play it but probably not till the winter now.

      I actually suspect they wanted to release earlier but have been delayed, especially given the large amount of publicity they gave it last year and then it all went quiet for months

  3. Rogerio Martins says:

    “You’ll have to make choices like whether to put children to work, endorse cannibalism or even euthanize poor injured folk who can no longer earn their keep.”

    Yeah, you know I’ll do all of these. I’ll have the children kill the invalid, so we can eat their meat.

  4. Kollega says:

    I live my daily life in a society that considers me “undesirable” and “expendable” for a host of reasons. This game is not going to be for me, or anyone else in a situation like mine.

    I mean, I can get how this can be an interesting experience for people who don’t have to deal with it every walking day, but I doubt it would be “eye-opening” for that many people. They’ll just think “oh, a cool and edgy dystopian world!” and be done with it. That’s how it tends to go nowadays.

    If it was any close to being within my reach, I would instead make a city sim called “Solarpunk” (as in, the budding sci-fi genre), where you start with a group of outcasts rejected by everyone, and help them build a new, fairer society that’ll treat the downtrodden and the environment with the dignity they deserve. Some may call it “boring”, I will call it “a perfect escapist fantasy and perhaps even a call to action”.

    • Rogerio Martins says:

      Where exactly are you from? Seems very harsh.

      • Kollega says:

        I’m from Kazakhstan, which is just slightly better than the other -stans. It’s “high tech, low life” as applies to the real world: a lot of people have smartphones and cars… but seeing people begging in the streets is a fact of life, public transport consists of ramshackle minibuses that look like they’ve been through several crashes, the streets in poor districts look like a location set for The Hunger Games, the social services just barely work despite all supposed modernization, domestic and child abuse is totally okay with a lot of people, “the yoof” and “the real mans” can easily beat you up if it’s dark outside or if you voice an opinion they dislike, etc. etc.

        Living in this place sure gives one a significant distaste for “dystopias as escapism”. Except for the “personally dismantle the dystopia, one fight at a time, and bring about a brighter world” kind… there’s a reason why I decided to dig out and play TimeShift a couple of days ago. And I mean… it’s no Uzbekistan, or Tajikistan, or Afghanistan… but it’s still a place where I can’t even feel safe and happy because of how it is.

        • Rogerio Martins says:

          I’m truly sorry to hear it. I can understand your point, of course the degree of my problems are smaller, but there are games that are not for me, due to how close to home they hit as someone who suffers from depression I could never stomach Last Sunlight for instance.

          • Kollega says:

            All I can wish for is that people actually thought when they read/play/watch something overly dark that’s delivered with a straight face. There are a lot of things in the world – like me living in a real-life dystopia, or like you dealing with angst/depression (which I’m also having to manage, naturally enough) – that are romanticized and glamorized in fiction as “totally badass and edgy and hardcore”, but are really, really not when you live with them day-to-day. I’m perfectly aware that I am not having it worst of all, too; even being an American in some dying coal town, unable to get basic medical care and having to stand in line to get food from a charity, is quantifiably worse than being where I am. And then there are places and people that are even worse off.

            What am I getting at here? Simple. I think if the people who are well-off enough to treat horrible dystopias as “cool and badass and interesting” actually realized that some people have to deal with things like that IRL, I think we’d be living in a very different world. Perhaps then, a more constructive vision of society – the one going “We can fix it, but what’s the plan?” – would be more in vogue. And at least, that’d surely be a hell of a lot more entertaining for me than repeatedly pretend-marching towards imaginary oblivion.

  5. poliovaccine says:

    The idea of a universal moral imperative to tell the truth, regardless of consequences… yyyeah, that will never be a difficult conflict for me, haha. While seeking the truth may be of penultimate importance in a certain respect, *telling* it to just whoever, whenever, without regard for context or tact or repercussions… well then, yeah, that’s an easy one.

    Like, if you’re the doctor, and the grieving parent asks about their late daughter, “Did she suffer?” like… here’s “always telling the truth” in action: “Not gonna lie to you – her final moments were spent in blinding agony and she probably also shit herself. Her last words were, ‘I am in hell,’ so yes, ma’am, all indications would point to suffering. Why do you ask?”