Last month, Keen Software House added planets and moons to their Early Access intergalactic sandbox adventure Space Engineers [official site] as "a result of some early access player feedback". In what Keen's founder Marek Rosa labels a "game-changing feature", players can now manipulate the landscape as they see fit - leaving behind a persistent footprint in their wake. In a new developer diary, Rosa explains how he and his team arrived at the decision to add the game's most ambitious feature yet.
Throughout its two year development, Space Engineers has been crafted with its community in mind - the introduction of planets falls in line with the game's second year anniversary of development and marks a "gift to all players". What's more, Keen previously introduced a survival mode and multiplayer support at the request of the community, before acting on calls to add planet exploration. "The funny thing is that we actually were not planning to implement planets to Space Engineers," says Rosa. "We decided to implement planets after we saw the commentary wants it; then we changed our mind."
Whereas base-building was only possible within the confines of space stations and spacecrafts before, now you can hope to build your home, base, or entire city on land - so long as you're watchful of potentially threatened - and threatening - natives (not least the eight-legged Sabiroid variety shown above). Different planets have different atmospheres, climates and resources meaning you'll have plenty to think about before investing in any one location.
Most interestingly, Rosa signs off the diary by expressing his own enthusiasm regarding where the community steers the planets update next. "Maybe they will start creating some really crazy and unexpected stuff," he says. "Maybe they'll eventually want to connect planets together, who knows?" If you're a fan, what will you do?
Space Engineers currently lives on Early Access and costs £18.99