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Oxygen Not Included exits the early access airlock late May

Klei’s popular space science, management and survival sandbox Oxygen Not Included will launch out of early access late this May, almost exactly two years from its original debut. In a recent announcement on their official forums, Klei stated that the game was in the final stretch now, and there’s only one update planned between now and launch. The final version of the game, while not having a specific date yet, will launch with three new biomes, new creatures, buildings and more, plus official mod support allowing players to take up the development gauntlet.

Launching out of early access doesn’t mean the end of Oxygen Not Included, of course. This is Klei, after all – they’re still expanding the much older Don’t Starve and its multiplayer spinoff, after all. The studio say once the game is finished, the bulk of the development team will be moving on to DLC. Between now and launch day, they’re working on one final round of quality-of-life improvements for the game, capping off the previous two similarly-themed updates. Personally, I’m looking forward to the animated short accompanying the final release. They’re always cute, and gradually tell an unfolding story.

Oxygen Not Included remains hugely popular, with thousands of players tinkering with their space-colonies at any given moment – Klei themselves are still surprised, given how niche they initially thought the concept. Brendan took a look at it just before its early access debut, and thought it was on the right track. It’s grown a startling amount since then, with thermal management systems, germ simulation and medical science, agricultural systems to keep your little space-folks fed and more. Recent updates have let players pump and refine oil, produce advanced automated systems with logic gates, and expand their colony ambitions far and wide.

It would be foolish to try and list all the hundreds of things they’ve added to the game – many of them big, fundamental upgrades – since launch, but you can see all their update notes on Steam here. Still, the game remains cartoony, accessible and friendly at a fundamental level. There’s a lot involved in managing a space station and the lives of the little idiot people within, but I feel that Klei have made it easy to get into in a way that Dwarf Fortress and Rimworld (much as I enjoy them) haven’t. I’m looking forward to Version 1.0, and whatever they’ve got planned as DLC.

Oxygen Not Included leaves early access in “late May”. If you can’t wait, you can snag it here on Steam or Epic for £19/23/$25. If you have several of Klei’s other sandbox games, you may find it cheaper here in their Survival Bundle, which includes Oxygen Not Included, Don’t Starve, Don’t Starve Together and all their expansions. You can (and should) watch all the update animated shorts here.

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