Gritty, dusty team (and co-op) shooter Insurgency: Sandstorm is coming full circle later this year, as developers New World Interactive unveil mapping and mod support among their 2019 plans. Fitting, considering that the original Insurgency started life as a Half-Life 2 mod. There's two new maps coming, including one snowy environment to address complaints that there's far too many rural desert towns in the game right now. Also planned are night-time versions of existing maps, new play-modes, and (for folks who aren't me) "hardcore" rules for all modes. You can see the full road-map here, or the abridged take below.
The planned mod support for Sandstorm seems comprehensive. Levels, game modes, rulesets, gameplay mods, factions, weapons and weapon upgrades will all be opened up for tweaking and sharing via Steam Workshop or similar. Beyond that, the full scope of their modding plans is still in flux, but those seven elements are largely set in stone. Until the fans can cut loose, new official maps will have to fill the gap. The upcoming snow map is technically a chilly remake of Sinjar from the original Insurgency, and will be renamed. As for the second map, that's still under wraps.
As for the coming night maps, I'm not a fan. I struggle enough to see where my enemies are in most well lit shooters, and Insurgency's nights are very, very dark. But they polled well, and New World are focusing on what their players have chosen to prioritise, so what do I know? Similarly, the new Hardcore rules (including deadlier guns, slower movement, minimal HUD and more AI enemies) are not for me. The new guns and upgrades planned are interesting. I admit that I do like scopes with varying zoom levels, which is something they'll be focusing on.
As impressive as all this is, and as much as I've enjoyed the few rounds I've played, the game's setting still leaves me a bit uncomfortable. I know people who have recently been to battlefields like this, with horrific stories to tell, and it seems messed up to turn it into a game while it's still happening. It weren't for the enemies in the recent Frenzy arcade mode having 'teleporting' among their abilities, it would look a lot sketchier having a heavily armed squad (with gunship backup) mowing down a mob with knives, molotovs and (of course) suicide bombs. Such is the world we live in.
You can see the 2019 roadmap here on Insurgency: Sandstorm's Steam blog. The game is published by Focus Home Interactive.