After Kerbal Space Program 2 revealed itself at Gamescom 2019, we spent a long couple of years without extensive information about the upcoming sequel and its little green spacemen, aside from adjustments to its release timeline. But with only months before KSP2 launches into Early Access orbit, developers at Intercept Games, alongside the original developers Squad, are steadily unveiling their plans for our spacefaring Kerbals, with all the space colonies and interstellar travel you could hope for.
Shocked? Excited? Filled with questions about when you can play it, what you can do in it, and how many explosions it'll take before you reach the Mun? We can help.
Here's everything we know about Kerbal Space Program 2, from its release date to what new features you can expect.
What is the Kerbal Space Program 2 release date?
Kerbal Space Program 2 launches into early access on Steam and Epic Games on February 24, 2023. KSP2's original release window was early 2020, but the game has been delayed four times.
Its roadmap begins with gathering data to improve user experience and then moves to the addition of new interstellar exploration, colonies, and online multiplayer options.
Here's the latest Kerbal Space Program 2 gameplay presentation
For our PC Gaming Show 2023 Preview, we were joined by Nate Simpson, creative director for Kerbal Space Program 2, for an overview of the sequel's planned additions and updates that'll be hitting over the course of its time in Early Access and beyond.
Simpson detailed KSP2's improved tutorialization for fledgling spacefarers, laid out the Intercept Games development roadmap for when to expect which features, and provided some new info about space colonies and interstellar travel along the way.
Kerbal Space Program 2 will feature interstellar travel
As in the first game, you'll start on the planet Kerbin, at the Kerbal Space Centre. From there, you'll build rockets that will let you explore the Kerbol System—first visiting Kerbin's moon, Mun, and then venturing to further planetary bodies.
In Kerbal Space Program 2, though, you'll be able to go beyond the Kerbol System thanks to interstellar travel. Intercept Games is looking to the future with a plethora of speculative rocket technology that will allow you Kerbals to venture out beyond the system—ensuring there's plenty that's new to discover.
Interstellar travel will involve more than just slapping a bunch of high-tech rocketry onto your shuttles. It'll require building massive starships in orbital drydocks, with the assistance of resources from space colonies (more on that below). Creative director Nate Simpson characterized the process as a mothership concept—building multiple vessels and attaching them to a larger superproject.
The first interstellar destination KSP2 astronauts will voyage to is called "Debdeb," and other star systems are planned for later additions.
Kerbal Space Program 2 will let you build space colonies
In addition to rockets and spaceplanes, players will now be able to construct entire colonies. By flying colony modules to other planets, players will be able to create habitats that can support a small population of Kerbals. As more resources are transported to the colony, and its population increases, the colony itself will grow—offering more features until eventually they'll offer their own VAB to build new rockets.
A fully-functioning orbital colony will let you construct massive ships free from the restrictions of Kerbin's gravity, which will be a key step in building interstellar craft. In our PC Gaming Show 2023 Preview interview, creative director Nate Simpson described how colony resource extraction and transport can be automated, with orbital colonies interconnected across an interplanetary trade network.
And because it's Kerbal Space Program, you'll be designing and building at least some of your colony structures. "Maybe most importantly, colonies are pretty fun to build," Simpson said. "It's still Kerbal, right? If you build a tower too tall, it's still physical—it'll fall over."
Will Kerbal Space Program 2 have multiplayer?
Yes! However, multiplayer is currently the final stage in KSP2's planned Early Access development roadmap, so we can expect a substantial wait before we're sending rockets into space together. The multiplayer section on their website reads: "It’s KSP2…but with more chaos, competition, or cooperation -- depending on your friends. Players should expect some hilarious and exciting moments as KSP2 will allow you to tackle challenges against or with other players." In our interview with Star Theory, creative director Nate Simpson explained that—while they weren't ready to provide any actual details about how multiplayer would work—"it is true to the spirit of the original Kerbal Space Program".
In our interview during the PC Gaming Show 2023 Preview, Simpson revealed some details about the structure of KSP2 multiplayer. Players can establish and join space agencies to play cooperatively together—or they can establish competing agencies, and engage in their own space races.
Who's making Kerbal Space Program 2?
Intercept Games, a development subsidiary of Private Division is creating Kerbal Space Program 2.
Star Theory Games was the developer for this one, replacing Squad, who designed the first game. Star Theory was formerly known as Uber Entertainment, who you may remember from making Monday Night Combat and Planetary Annihilation.
Private Division started moving development in-house to Intercept Games, a newly-founded indie studio focused solely on KSP2 development. The change doesn't necessarily represent a complete overhaul, as "key members" of the existing Kerbal 2 team including former Star Theory studio head Jeremy Ables, creative director Nate Simpson, and lead producer Nate Robinson will move to the new studio and continue working on the game.
Original studio Squad is also involved, more so now that it has wrapped up the final update on the original KSP and shifted attention to working on the sequel.
The original KSP has gotten its last major patch
After over a decade of updates and patches, development on Kerbal Space Program is over. Squad launched update 1.12.2 for KSP in August 2021 and announced that with it out the door "we are now shifting gears towards the development of KSP2". Nice!
Construction should be less fiddly in KSP2
In a development update from 2021, the KSP2 team explains how they're looking to make rocket construction less of a pain in KSP2. They don't want "a button to do it for me" and are focused more on making the tools that do exist easier to comprehend. One example the developers give is procedural wings which allow you to change the shape and size of wings while also seeing how things like lift and drag are affected by those changes.
You're also able to work on multiple sub-assemblies parallel to one another. "We have this orthographic view cube—it's much easier to do things like line up a fin or line up a booster on a radial decoupler," the developers say in the same update. "That's a thing that was legendarily difficult to deal with in the original game."
Kerbal Space Program 2 will be easier to learn
One of the things Intercept Games is focusing on for the sequel is the tutorial. Kerbal Space Program taught its systems adequately enough, but did a bad job of explaining the scientific and mathematical concepts powering the physics sandbox. For Kerbal Space Program 2, new animations will detail everything from delta-v to docking—ensuring players are armed for success.
To that end, the developers are doubling down on tutorials in KSP2. They don't want it to feel like a textbook, but it is literally rocket science.
"It relies much more heavily on showing rather than telling," the developers say in a 2021 development update. "Everyone's heard the word 'orbit'. Everyone knows satellites go around the Earth. But there's actually some other things about an orbit that are not intuitive until you see them illustrated in an animation." KSP2 will let you opt in or out of these lessons when you need them.
Crucially, it won't be an easier game. As with Kerbal Space Program, you'll be doing a lot of learning through failure. "The fun of failure is a huge part of what makes Kerbal great and a big part of what drives a lot of the social aspect of Kerbal," Michael Cook, executive producer at Private Division, told PC Gamer, "because showing off your fun failures is many times much more entertaining than then even your successes."
Will Kerbal Space Program 2 support mods?
Yes! Despite a new owner and developer, Private Division and Star Theory (opens in new tab) seem to recognise how important mods are to KSP's community. In fact, Kerbal Space Program 2 will have better mod support than the original game, which itself has thousands of mods.
Here's a video on Kerbal Space Program 2's propulsion (opens in new tab)
There will be Torchships, humongous rockets like the kind The Expanse fans will recognize.
OK, but how do I get to space?
Just add more rockets. (opens in new tab)