Surviving Mars returns with a new developer, a free update and more DLC

After a couple of years with no notable updates, Surviving Mars has unexpectedly sprung back to life, with the red planet under new management. Abstraction has taken the reins from Haemimont Games, and with the change comes a new update, DLC and expansion plans. Mars is getting busy again.

While the next game in the Surviving series is already out, at least in early access, there's definitely still life on Mars. Paradox announced that more than 5 million people have attempted to tame the hostile world, and Mars is obviously still very much in the public consciousness.

The free update is coming very soon: you'll be able to create a bustling tourist industry on Mars from Monday. The Tourism Update will make it so that tourists now rate their holiday experience, and to get them to give you a high score you can construct hotels, low-G amusement parks and customisable RC safaris.

Magnus Lysell, Paradox product manager, tells me that "the Surviving Mars community has expressed a strong interest in new content focused on further exploring Mars and expanding building options." Things like rover safaris and the holiday ratings have been highly-requested, apparently, and Lysell hopes the feedback will give the team even more ideas for future additions.

Housing is also getting some love. Paradox and Abstraction have teamed up with modder Silva to create some dome DLC that introduces eight new buildings, along with more housing and community options. The In-Dome Buildings Pack also launches on Monday and can be yours for £3.99/$4.99.

The imminent update "is just the beginning" for the next stage of Surviving Mars, according to Lysell. Another full expansion is on the docket for this year, though its contents are a mystery for now.

"Abstraction has a vision for the content they are making, and planning, for Surviving Mars," says Lysell. "While we can’t go into specifics about what's next for Surviving Mars, we have ambitious plans for the game's future. Abstraction's vision is one we feel players will love and we will continue investing in more content as long as the community likes what they are playing."

I've yet to really click with Surviving the Aftermath, but Surviving Mars has always been great. It did seem like there was more than could be mined from Mars, so I was disappointed to see development stop after 2019's Green Planet expansion. It's a shame the original team isn't involved with the next phase, but Abstraction has a lot of experience with DLC and being brought on to support games. Hopefully it will be up to the task. 

As for crossovers between the pair of survivalists, nothing is being planned at the moment. Lysell says the teams communicate and share ideas, but the two games are otherwise entirely separate.

Conveniently, Surviving Mars is also free on the Epic Games Store until March 18.

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.