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Kenshi developers ask if an engine upgrade is worth delaying a sequel

I hadn’t actually considered Kenshi would be getting a sequel. After six years in Steam Early Access, I imagined developers Lo-Fi Games would look at doing anything but reliving that process all over again. But working on the strange sandbox RPG must be quite fun, because they’ve got themselves in something of a jam. Lo-Fi Games want Kenshi to be the best it can be, porting it over to Unreal Engine 4. At the same time, they’re prepping a sequel.

Worried that the update will significantly stall work on Kenshi 2, the devs are asking: do you want a brand new game, or a better version of what you’ve got?

The developers have put together a comprehensive Steam update detailing why this trade-off could be so severe. With a move to Unreal 4, Lo-Fi promise “amazing graphics” and “better performance” for relatively little effort, with fewer engine-specific bugs to worry.

However, CEO Chris Hunt reckons this means far more work in the short term than even starting from scratch on a new game. Assets will have to be reworked into an unfamiliar framework, one they have less control over than Kenshi’s existing home-built engine. Modding support could get tricky, but will still remain a priority for the team.

“Personally I feel like it would be better to focus on Kenshi 2, which will have exciting new features, new content and world to explore and mechanics to play with, rather than remaking Kenshi 1, which would be essentially the same game.”

To that end, Lo-Fi have set up a Straw Poll, letting the community decide what they want next from Kenshi. If the fans vote for Kenshi 2, the first game will receive bug fixes but largely remain as-is. Otherwise, the sequel will sit on the shelf as work continues on porting Kenshi to a new engine.

Despite it’s brutal weirdness, Alec fell in love with Kenshi in his review. It’s an open-ended mess, and all the better for it. Would you want Kenshi stripped of its uniquely ugly charm in an Unreal update? How can a sequel expand on a game where building an empire is just as likely as starving in the desert?

I suppose that’s what the poll is for, really.

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Natalie Clayton

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