Rimworld's Ideology expansion will let you play as 'tree-worshipping cannibals' (or whatever)

Rimworld Ideology expansion
(Image credit: Ludeon Studios)

The indie colony management sim Rimworld officially launched in October 2018, after spending more than five years in an early access state, but developer Ludeon Studios is still working on it. The studio announced today that a big, free update, and a new expansion called Ideology, are coming soon.

The 1.3 update is "a pretty big one," representing roughly 15 months of work on the game, and will add (among other things) a new system of pens and fences for animals, a rework of the factional goodwill system, more capable enemies who will now use special tools to breach your base defenses instead of trying to barge in through the front door, medicine that can be carried and used by colonists, and beards. Why beards? "People have beards, and they look beardy and awesome," Ludeon explained.

Naturally, there's a slew of other additions, tweaks, changes, and fixes—the full lowdown on everything that's happening in the 1.3 update is available in the changelog.

The bigger deal, though, is the Ideology update, which is aimed at giving players more control over the narrative aspects of their colonies. Developer Tynan Sylvester said it came as a reaction to seeing players create colonies based on certain "themes," like pirates, cannibals, and nomads.

"I thought: What if we made the system that let players explicitly express all those different ways of life? That’s what we’ve spent the last 15 months working on with Ideology," Sylvester wrote.

"This expansion lets you create a new belief system and act it out in your colony. You can play as tree-worshipping cannibals who carve skulls into every piece of furniture, or blind tunnelers who shun the light, or transhumanists obsessed with perfecting the human form using exotic technology. Or be nudists, or drug-stupor mystics, or piratical raiders, or charity-focused givers, or pain-loving animal sacrificers, or dance-party techno ravers, or rustic ranching cowboys, or many many more."

Players will be able to mix up various elements of their belief system and customize individual elements, from basic precepts and rituals to clothing, tattoos, and beards in whatever way they see fit. There will also be a nice category of quest in the expansion described as "a sort of Indiana Jones roguelike-type challenge," plus new dryad creatures, spacedrone hacking, and a new "Archonexus ending."

The Rimworld 1.3 update is currently expected to go live in a couple of weeks, placing it around mid-July, although Ludeon warned that could change. If you'd like to try it out for yourself right now, you can opt into the preview branch on Steam: Right-click RimWorld in your Steam library and select "Properties", then select the "Betas" tab and choose branch "1.3-preview." You may need to restart Steam to finish the process. 

The Ideology expansion will launch at the same time. While you wait, you can have a look at some new screens below.

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.