Kerbal Space Program is a decade old this week, but it sure doesn't feel like it. Maybe that's because for its first few years Kerbal lived on its own launcher as a rough alpha; version 1.0 didn't come until 2015. Maybe Kerbal doesn't feel a decade old because it so quickly entered the canon of great PC games, it's hard to imagine it hasn't been around longer.
After years of development from a team scattered across the world, Kerbal developer Squad is finally sunsetting its space program and moving on to help develop the sequel—but not before releasing one last big update.
"This is the last big version for KSP1. We're wrapping up the celebration with this big one," says head of production Nestor Gomez. "I think players will really like this one. It has a bunch of great features, so we're excited for that too."
One big addition in the anniversary update, 1.12, is a maneuver tool that lets you plan more complex interplanetary flights without needing a mod to make it easier.
"The general gamer struggles to understand the astrophysics and how to get from Kerbin to the Mun, or to Duna or another planet," says programmer Jamie Leighton. "'How do I plan that, and try to get my vessel there?' In this Anniversary edition we're going to have a tool that allows the player to go 'I want to go from this planet with this vessel, to this planet, how do I get there?' and it will calculate it for you and create the maneuver for you. You still have to fly it. But it's there for those who want to use it."
There are other additions that will leave longtime Kerbal players overjoyed, even if they don't seem life-changing, like rotating docking port collars for lining up vessels just right, and makeovers for many of Kerbal's planets that make their surfaces a touch prettier.
The update releases with Kerbal's anniversary on Thursday, but it's certainly not the end for KSP. It's actually being ported to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X later this year, and many of its developers will be moving on to work on Kerbal Space Program 2.
"Several team members are already helping out on KSP2," Gomez says. "That's been, I don't know how long—actually delivering content for KSP2, maybe more than a year. So we've been in that transition for a long time. We've been slowly increasing that interaction among the teams. That's the plan. We will all help out on KSP2 and make sure it comes out great. I'm very excited about that next stage for all of us."