Deep Rock Galactic celebrates five years of free updates by letting you play without them, says 'we are not slowing down'

An image of the dwarves in Deep Rock Galactic.
(Image credit: Coffee Stain)

Deep Rock Galactic is the finest space-dwarf mining simulator out there, which is in no small part down to how the game has been supported with free updates since its early access launch almost five years ago (the game was fully released in 2020). February 28 is the anniversary date, and to celebrate the game will see an event running from March 2-16 with decorations and rewards aplenty for all bearded heroes.

The developers are also adding something even more unusual: The original version of the game, as it launched in early 2018. "Maybe you feel nostalgic and want to go back and experience those early days of glory," writes Ghost Ship Games (opens in new tab). "Or maybe you just want to appreciate everything that has been added since launch by actually seeing how different the game is today by comparison."

So few games ever offer this opportunity to take stock. There are some games where there may be a reason you seek out and play an older, unpatched version, but rarely do developers want to go back and serve-up something they've spent many years improving. It'll be especially illuminating to go back and see what this was like before all the additions, because I started playing Deep Rock Galactic long after it had become popular. 

The quality of free updates for Deep Rock Galactic is such that it has the most unusual problem of its players trying to work out how to give the developers more money. So the fifth anniversary jamboree includes the game's second supporter pack: "a most decadent, most luxurious, most supportive package of cosmetic DLC and extra goodies."

The developers are going to livestream the fifth anniversary from its Copenhagen office and discuss "the past and future of DRG," saying a celebration doesn't mean resting on any laurels. "We are not slowing down on Deep Rock Galactic," writes Ghost Ship Games. "On the contrary, we have never been as busy making exciting new things for this labor of love which now turns 5."

Deep Rock Galactic's third season launched last year, and turns your miners into grenade-lobbing doctors (as PCG's Joshua Wolens sagely notes, "what is a miner but a doctor for rocks?" (opens in new tab)) It's also one of those games that has gathered momentum over the years and continues to sell at an incredible rate, with over two million people in 2022 (opens in new tab) deciding that, yes, tunnelling through asteroids with a team of bearded dwarves is my idea of a good time. At the rate this thing is going, don't be surprised when we're back for the tenth anniversary, where maybe the devs will release the game as it was in 2023.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."