Kerbal Space Program 2's negative reception could start to turn around this week, if the first big patch isn't delayed

Kerbal Space Program 2 — A trio of Kerbal astronauts emerge from their lunar lander to gaze with a kind of vacant awe at the wonder of space.
(Image credit: Intercept Games)

Despite taking nearly three years longer than expected to arrive, Kerbal Space Program 2 was in pretty rough shape when it debuted in early access in February. Performance was rough and bugs were plentiful: "Too early access for early access" is how one Steam user put it.

That situation will hopefully improve later this week. Developer Intercept Games says it is making "good headway on performance improvements and bug squashing" in the first patch for Kerbal Space Program 2, which it hopes to have out on March 16—although that date isn't carved in stone.

"Provided QA does not uncover any show-stopping bugs over the next few days, that date should hold," creative director Nate Simpson wrote in a Steam update. "If they do run into something unexpected that needs to be fixed, that date will slip. We have done a fair amount of hand-wringing around whether we should announce the target date for this patch when there is a non-zero chance of a delay, but we know this topic is very important to you all, so we're doing our best to keep you all in the loop."

One of the big issues addressed by the patch is a fix for a bug that creates huge amounts of reverse thrust when the Kraken engine's nozzles are obstructed: "If you're working on a Kraken ship, the 'unique' physics on which it depends are about to go away forever," Simpson warned. Intercept has also apparently completed some fixes for the second KSP2 patch, but won't get into talking about those until after the first patch is launched.

For players who want to go deep on how all this stuff works, graphics programmer Mortoc put up a lengthy blog post diving into KSP2's graphics and performance, and how developers are going about fixing and testing the game's issues. It's a little on the dense side, but the important point (to my eye, anyway) is that the early access release is enabling developers to see where the game is working, and where it isn't—which is basically what early access is all about.

"In a game as complex as KSP2, there are a dizzying number of areas that we could spend our efforts on and the feedback we're receiving is invaluable for us to focus our time on the issues that affect the players the most," Mortoc wrote.

Kerbal Space Program 2 has a "mixed" rating on Steam, where positive and negative user reviews are, for the moment at least, split literally 50/50—quite a contrast to the "very positive" rating enjoyed by the original across nearly 92,000 user reviews. But the reactions to Mortoc's update, and to Simpson's patch announcement, are generally positive, or at least hopeful: As a user named Cyberfips wrote in the Steam discussion thread, "Please keep up the effort, and (most important), keep communicating the problems to the crowd. If you stumble upon a problem, maybe one of the crowd has a good idea."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.