Duskers, the game about piloting drones through derelict spaceships, will leave Early Access in May

Duskers, the spooky and tense roguelike strategy game about piloting drones through procedurally-generated derelict spaceships, is due to leave Early Access in mid-to-late May. You can view the new launch teaser above.

I played Duskers just as it entered Early Access last year, and really enjoyed it. As you dock with mysterious, seemingly abandoned spaceships to scavenge for supplies, you can steer your fleet of drones manually as well as by entering text commands in the console. Using your drones (you yourself are safely stationed in a drop shop, watching on a monitor), you open and close doors, hack security panels, and search for supplies, resources, upgrades, and even additional drones to add to your fleet. Your drones aren't the only ones on these abandoned spaceships, naturally. There are hidden threats like automated ship defenses and hostile alien organisms, and much of the game revolves around finding ways to detect, avoid, trap, destroy, or even expel threats out of the ship's airlocks and into space.

I spoke to developer Tim Keenan via email about Duskers' time in Early Access, and how player feedback helped shape the game. One example he gave had to do with radiation events. Initially, radiation flooding a ship happened without warning, meaning players always had to be prepared for that eventuality by closing doors behind their drones and keeping an escape route in mind at all times. Players, however, felt they weren't given enough time to react to the random event, and didn't enjoy having an otherwise successful run compromised or ended due to the sudden appearance of radiation. It took a while for Keenan to see their point of view, but he eventually reached a compromise.

 "What I added was an audio cue that the ship started to creak," Keenan wrote, "and that would indicate that within 15 to 30 seconds radiation might start flooding in a room because a pipe would burst or whatnot. The really fun thing here is that radiation doesn't always flood after the audio cue, and we also don't tell you where it's going to flood. I was able to keep something that I wanted: a condition that could come up and cause stress and force the player to adapt, but still stay true to the game and allow them a moment to come up with a quick strategy and at least mitigate the newly presented threat."

Keenan also pointed me to some involved discussions on the Steam forums about other game systems. Talking with early adopters, he told me, helped him realize: "...the community started to kind of understand my game almost better than I did, as a whole anyway."

You can visit the Duskers official site and find its Steam store page right here.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.