To be blunt, the success of Deep Rock Galactic was a surprise to me. A game about "space dwarves" mining for resources while fighting off hostile aliens in the deepest reaches of space sounds a little niche, doesn't it? Especially without a Warhammer 40,000 license attached to it. And yet, it's a hit: An "overwhelmingly positive" rating across nearly 200,000 user reviews on Steam, and more than three years after its 2020 launch—which came after two years of early access—it still regularly draws thousands of concurrent players.
Now developer Ghost Ship Games has announced that a new game set in the same universe, called Deep Rock Galactic: Rogue Core, is coming in 2024.
In some ways, Deep Rock Galactic: Rogue Core sounds a lot like its predecessor. It's a co-op FPS for one to four players set in procedurally generated, destructible caves about a team of dwarven "Reclaimers" sent to retake control of lost deep mining operations on Hoxxes IV, "the deadliest planet in the galaxy" that also happens to be the richest resource deposit ever discovered—and thus, your workplace. The Steam page says the core gameplay of Rogue Core "builds on" Deep Rock Galactic and will feature the same basic mechanics, including traversal tools, weapon synergies, and "laser pointer shouts."
The big difference is that Rogue Core is built around a roguelite structure. "This means that you start each mission with only the very basics, but as you progress through each run you will get upgrades, equipment and abilities and possibly end up with very powerful builds," Ghost Ship explained. "The difficulty will also increase drastically as you progress in a mission, contrary to Deep Rock Galactic where the difficulty is more consistent from mission start to mission end."
The studio added that it intentionally used the term "roguelite" rather than "roguelike" because Rogue Core will offer "meta gameplay with permanent progression between missions."
Details are slim at this point, as you can probably tell from the teaser, and Ghost Ship said DRG: Rogue Core isn't expected to go into early access (and yes, it will be early access) until November 2024. The studio opted to announce the game this early, it said, because "we like to start small, and we really want to rekindle that open development feeling again—that means announcing now, in this pre-alpha state, without not so much to show yet."
It also noted that Rogue Core is not intended as a sequel. "We still aim to support Deep Rock Galactic as a live game," Ghost Ship game director Mikkel Martin Pederson said. "However we were keen to give fans a fresh take on the gameplay formula that only a spinoff title could provide."
Unfortunately, work on DRG: Rogue Core is going to slow down Deep Rock Galactic development somewhat. DRG season 5, which Ghost Ship said will be a thematic" prelude" to Rogue Core, has been pushed to June 2024.
Deep Rock Galactic: Rogue Core is available for wishlisting on Steam. A price hasn't been set, but Ghost Ship said it will likely create some kind of bundle so owners of Deep Rock Galactic will be able to get it at a discount.