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Before We Leave devs next chill city builder is set on top of a giant space whale

Beyond These Stars is launching into early access this year

2021’s Before We Leave was a chill, planet-hopping city builder with the occasional space whale who might hoover up your world’s hexagonal tiles. Now developer Balancing Monkey is back for another go at spacefaring management, but this time your city is built on top of a space whale, rather than being terrorised by one. Their follow-up, Beyond These Stars, will be hitting early access on PC later this year.

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Let’s address the whale in the room first, that whale’s name being Kewa. Players will build their city on the back of one of these cosmos-travelling creatures, dealing with the limited room and materials, and micromanaging every aspect of this new intergalactic civilization. Beyond These Stars’ trailer reveals that Kewa’s back is actually more liveable than you might expect; greenery is abundant, there’s plenty of natural rocky materials to harvest, and a quaint little stream runs through the village.

Of course, Kewa is a living creature, not just a resource-filled host, so players will need to develop a relationship with it. You can choose to live in harmony with Kewa or to exploit it for your city’s gain, and either decision will have consequences. Kewa’s more likely to listen to your directions if you have a better connection, for example, making it easier to traverse the procedurally generated cosmos.

If you don’t want to strip the beautiful whale of all its resources you’ll need to establish outposts on other planets, extract their supplies (if Kewa decides to stick around long enough), and meet the alien denizens of other cities. Balancing Monkey tease that Kewa isn’t the only majestic creature swimming through space either.

I’m fond of the trailer’s relaxing, jolly take on city building, and I’m even more fond of the whale. Not only is Kewa a cool setting for a city builder, I really dig independent animals in games, generally. I think about childhood memories playing Black & White, being in awe of how autonomous the big cow felt, as if it was quietly rebelling or warming up to me by itself. Then I grew up and realised it was all code, but that tug-of-war relationship could be interesting in a city builder like this.

Beyond These Stars is releasing into early access later this year on PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store.

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