The official Starship Troopers co-op shooter has a full release date, Casper Van Dien, and a miraculous-sounding corpse pile-up system: 'No other game has been able to achieve persistent death at the scale we're doing'

A starship trooper points into the camera while being attacked by bugs on all sides.
(Image credit: Offworld)

In a flurry punch of announcements, rather good co-op bug-blaster Starship Troopers: Extermination has revealed that it's leaving behind early access and hitting its full 1.0 release on October 11, gaining a new singleplayer campaign mode in the transition, and that it's recruited Casper Van Dien—Mr "I'm from Buenos Aires and I say kill 'em all" from the original movie—to feature in it. Oh, and that you'll soon be able to kill enough bugs to literally change the terrain of the game's maps.

Van Dien will be reprising the role of Johnny Rico in a new, older and more grizzled form: General John Rico, who'll be giving you orders throughout the new campaign. "Now, [Rico's] older," said Van Dien in a chat with PCG, "and he's got more young troopers— people that he's looking out for. They mean more to him than the job." 

One of those troopers is you, sounds like. You'll be playing a soldier "tapped for an elite spec ops group within the Mobile Infantry," which sounds like a very good way to wind up dead in the Starship Troopers universe.

"It's officially canon," said Extermination's game lead Peter Maurice, who promises that the studio isn't "just bringing [Van Dien] in to shoot off 'Come on you dirty apes!' and just the one liners; if we're bringing him back it means something to the franchise."

"[Starship Troopers writer] Ed Neumeier would be proud," said Van Dien, "And Paul Verhoeven is gonna love it."

On top of all that, Extermination has also announced an incoming update: Carnage on Planet X-11, slated for release by the end of June. Look, I'll level with you: There's a bunch of stuff in here about enhanced bug mechanics and a new location, but the keystone feature has gotta be the "persistent bug bodies," which will leave the bugs you massacre littering the battlefield, able to be climbed or even box you in, Cask of Amontillado-style.

(Image credit: Offworld)

It sounds like the kind of thing that could easily reduce your framerate to zero, but Maurice says the studio has tested it with "literally thousands and thousands of bugs" without issue, prompting him to exclaim "Holy fuck! How'd you do this?" at the game's tech team. "No other game has been able to achieve persistent death at the scale we're doing."

It's a big change (and, as much as I love Johnny Rico, might be the most intriguing announcement of all of them), and it's hitting before the game leaves early access, but Offworld promises 1.0 won't be the end for major updates. 1.0 is "kind of like a stake in the ground," says lead game designer Chaz Baker, "Where we're like, 'This is ready, this is where everyone can start playing'," but it's ultimately "the first stage in a lot of different stages" of the game's future development.

It all sounds like something I'd quite like to try, but I have to be honest, there's only one question burning in my mind: At what point will someone try to get the 85-year-old Paul Verhoeven to squad up for some 16-player PvE? "I will be getting it into Verhoeven's hands," promises Van Dien, "100%, and we'll probably get some gaming going on."

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.