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Surviving the Aftermath update adds ideologies, saunas

Surviving the Aftermath is a city building sim set in the aftermath of a global catastrophe: Basically "SimCity meets nuclear armageddon," except instead of a game over screen you're given a shovel and some lumber. It launched into early access last year and has gone through four updates since that have expanded the game with new features and mechanics.

The fifth update, Sanctuary, was revealed today during a livestream that began with an acknowledgment that this is not quite what was planned: The update was originally listed on the content roadmap as "Bad Luck," but the name was changed to better reflect the different direction it's taking: Instead of bad luck, this update will bring saunas, which are in part a reflection of the culture at Iceflake Studios, the Finland-based developer of Surviving the Aftermath.

"It's very much a Finnish thing," Iceflake's Joanna Lankoski explains in the video. "We are people who are, actually some people are born in saunas in Finland, so it is a huge cultural thing for us. It's -20, -30 degrees in the winters here, you kind of want a place that's hot and warm and everything."

Saunas are great for relaxing in, but there are practical bonuses too: They improve the hygiene of your colonists, which helps prevent them from falling ill so quickly and easily in a world suffering from the effects of fallout and radiation. Another new structure, the lightning rod, also has heightened importance in this post-apocalyptic setting, which is wracked by supercharged lightning storms that can do serious damage to your buildings.

What may prove to be the biggest change is the addition of ideologies, selected at the start of the game. Players can opt to focus one of three approaches to rebuilding humanity in this awful new world—survival, building, or exploration—each of which will enable unique new options in the tech tree. It's very basic at this point, but further expansion and changes are possible, based on player feedback. To assist the developers in figuring all that out, the built-in feedback system has also been updated.

Full details on the Sanctuary update, which will also feature a new iteration of the trade system and various balance changes and bug fixes, will be revealed in the patch notes, which will be released along with the update itself on March 5.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.