Build-o-banter space sandbox Space Engineers is a game I'd forgotten was still in early access, seeing as we've been able to fly ships shaped like sharks and Homer Simpson and such since 2013, but it is. Keen Software House last night announced that Space Engineers will finally blast off next Thursday, February 28th. Much like the big daddy of build-o-banter sandboxes, Minecraft, it sounds like the distinction between early access and out won't mean much and development will continue but hey. This will be the point, Keen say, that they "have a solid foundation" to build upon.
It's come a long way since 2013, from adding big features like explorable planets to general optimisation, polish, and fixing. The final big change pushing it out of early access status will be a "major" overhaul of its Survival mode.
"Survival overhaul is one of the biggest overhauls because until now our main priority was making sure the sandbox elements work properly," Keen CEO Marek Rosa explained in January. "We needed to make sure that the physics are stable, multiplayer is reliable, the destruction is working, and so on. With this update, we are evolving from sandbox towards a game."
Rosa insists that leaving early access won't be the end of it.
"We won't stop working on Space Engineers and we feel good about the foundation we have built," he said in yesterday's launch announcement. "We're going to take Space Engineers to exciting places when it comes to gameplay, immersion, and challenges!"
Post-launch plans include "new features, blocks, and scenarios." Rosa also tries to head off complaints about the game lacking features some wanted, saying "It's still very likely that we will implement some of features that you've requested."