11 Bit Studios, maker of Frostpunk, has been teasing an announcement on Twitter recently using the hashtag SnowBloodOil. As many fans have guessed, it's not a horrifying new energy drink.
Your suspicions are confirmed: city building and society simulating survival game Frostpunk is getting a sequel. Above you can see the announcement trailer for Frostpunk 2, which shows that the world remains in the grip of an endless winter and yet the biggest danger to humankind is still other humans.
Frostpunk 2 is set 30 years after the deadly mega-blizzard that arrived at the end of the original Frostpunk's campaign. In the decades since, progress (of a sort) has been made, and society is doing more than just surviving. It's expanding. Coal-burning is giving way to an important new resource and the age of oil is upon us, with all the promise and peril it brings along with it.
"In Frostpunk’s successor, players are once again tasked with playing as the leader of a resource-hungry metropolis where the expansion and search for new sources of power is an unavoidable reality," reads the announcement. "But the apocalyptic world has moved on. After the age of coal, conquering Frostland for the oil extraction industry is expected to be the new salvation of what’s left of humanity."
I had a brief chat with Frostpunk 2 co-director Jakub Stokalski, and while he wasn't ready to talk about the finer details like gameplay systems and new features coming in the sequel, he did give me an overview of the game's goals and themes.
"The question really becomes, what's next?" said Stokalski. "I would say Frostpunk 2 is going to be about what happens when you actually survive the unsurvivable. And not only you, but society as a whole."
I asked about the planet itself, and if it's still getting colder or if the climate is recovering and steering toward a warmer and potentially more hopeful future.
"If you know our last two games, hope is not very high on our themes list," Stokalski said, laughing. "But I would say that it's interesting, because internally with Łukasz Juszczyk, my co-director and co-partner in crime, we often talk about [how] Frostpunk was really an apocalyptic game, right? It took place in the time that basically everything was going to shit. And in this sense it was doom and gloom and everything [getting] worse and worse all around.
"And Frostpunk 2, in this sense, is actually a post-apocalyptic game, in a way. The cities did survive. And again, what will happen next, this is the big question. So I would say that the overall themes of the game are not going to be all beds of roses. I would say that it's going to be somewhat different in tone from the original."
Stokalski also said the scope and scale of Frostpunk 2 is bigger than the original, but not just in physical size. "We don't want to just make a bigger game, right? We want to make a broader game in terms of keeping to the themes in Frostpunk 1 but telling more about different aspects of the biggest enemy out there, which is human nature."
As far as how the mad scramble for oil will come into play and how it will shape your society in Frostpunk 2, he was pretty tight-lipped.
"I cannot talk very specifically about the role [of oil] and how the society will play out around this. I can say that while oil is definitely the big actor, the ultimate hero and antihero remains the society, right? For us, Frostpunk 2 is still going to be a society survival game, just interpreted in a different way than the original."
11 Bit Studios hasn't announced a release date or even a year for Frostpunk 2. According to Stokalski, it's still "pretty early in development."
But there's a plus side as you consider there might be a long wait to get your hands on Frostpunk 2. As an added bonus to accompany the announcement, you can try the original Frostpunk for free on Steam from August 12-16. And below is a newspaper from Frostpunk 2 filling in a bit more information about the world and who, exactly, that fellow frozen in the snow is in the trailer. Click the upper right corner to see it full-sized.