Satisfactory's long-awaited Update 4 is out today, and that means a whole lot of new parts to build and then feed into machines that make other parts, to feed into machines that make other other parts, and on and on and on. You can watch my walkthrough of Update 4's new features with game director Mark Hofma in the video above, and read more about all of them here. But I also had to ask Hofma about one thing that isn't in Update 4, because I know other Satisfactory players will want to know: Is there going to be a Tier 9?
Progress through Satisfactory is broken down into tech tiers that define what buildings you can build, and what your milestones are to unlock newer, better machinery and parts. With Update 4, the developers are adding Tier 8, which is mostly focused on nuclear power (you also unlock a rad hoverpack). It feels like it could be the end, but Hofma says the developers at Coffee Stain are thinking about adding one more.
Don't expect a Tier 10, though. "We have been thinking about doing another tier after Tier 8, but 9 and 10 will probably not be the case," he told me. "If we're going to do another tier, it's going to be just 9. Then we'll have 0-9."
It's a nice round figure, accounting for the game's initial Tier 0. Coffee Stain is clearly still deciding how it wants to round out Satisfactory as it continues development and eventually exits Early Access. They also have ideas that won't be tacked onto the endgame.
"The content we still want to add doesn't add stuff to the end of the game," Hofma said. "We kind of want to broaden the game, rather than stretch it. We want to add more in mid-game and more options to the M.A.M. that aren't necessarily required in the main progression, but you can get them on the side. But Tier 9 would mostly be there if we added it as a wrap-up phase. So you'd get a few more things, but it's mostly there to round off the story and finalize everything with your project assembly setup."
I like the sound of that—the most fun I had in Satisfactory was in that mid-game period, when I'd unlocked a lot of more efficient technologies but wasn't dealing with the especially complex, time-consuming endgame builds. Nuclear power is cool, but also: Radiation is no fun. Hopefully Tier 9, if it comes to be, will go a bit more sci-fi and tie into Satisfactory's mysterious artifacts. They don't do anything currently, but the final tech tier seems like the right time to bring them alive.
Satisfactory Update 4 is live today on Steam and Epic on the experimental branch of the game. To install it in Steam, right-click the game, go to Properties > Betas, and find it in the drop-down.