Splendid spaceship-dismantling sim Hardspace: Shipbreaker is winding up to leave early access this spring, with the developers saying the next major update will see the game blast off to a full launch. After entering early access in June 2020, they're getting ready to wrap up the story campaign with its final act. Who knows, maybe we'll actually make enough money from salvaging spaceships to escape our crippling debt?
Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a first-person sim starring a heavily indebted salvage worker, stuck dismantling spaceships to pay back The Man. Each ship is a puzzle, a place and an object to study and best learn how to cut it to pieces with your tools without accidentally destroying valuable parts or, y'know, igniting a fuel line.
Steve Hogarty's Hardspace: Shipbreaker early access review back in 2020 said it "speaks to the part of your brain that, when sufficiently bored, wants to very carefully take something apart until every bit is laid out neatly in front of you". Sin Vega soon praised it a lot too.
The developers, Blackbird Interactive have added plenty since then too: new hazards, new tools, more of the story, and new ship types. The latest big early access update introduced double-decker spaceships with the new Atlas class. Now, they're getting ready to launch it in full.
Game director Elliot Hudson explained in last night's announcement that the next major early access update, expected in spring 2022, will be the one which takes it out of early access. It will add the third and final act of the story campaign, enable Ship Saving so you can take a break mid-salvage and return to your work later, and retune progression "so it's less impacted by the randomised salvage value and composition of ships".
With the full launch tweaking the first two acts as well as tuning progression, yes, v1.0 will bring a full reset of players' progress. While acknowledging that wipes "can be frustrating", Hudson said "it's an unfortunate necessity when introducing new campaign content".
"We hear you, and we wish it could be avoided, but unfortunately it's the nature of this particular beast," he added. "Progression resets are one of the topics where we've been doing a lot of learning and listening, and we hope that this process becomes smoother in future projects."
After the full launch, Hudson says part of their team "will continue to improve the PC version". They're also working on a console version.
Hardspace: Shipbreaker is currently available on Steam Early Access for £22/€25/$25. The price will go up to $35 ahead of v1.0, so you might want to nab it now if you've been meaning to? Though has often had a 33% discount in Steam sales. So will waiting get you a better price or will you miss your opportunity? A gamble!