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Surviving the Aftermath update adds ideologies, saunas

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Surviving the Aftermath (opens in new tab) is a city building sim set in the aftermath of a global catastrophe: Basically "SimCity meets nuclear armageddon," except instead of a game over screen you're given a shovel and some lumber. It launched into early access last year (opens in new tab) and has gone through four updates since that have expanded the game with new features and mechanics.

The fifth update, Sanctuary, was revealed today during a livestream that began with an acknowledgment that this is not quite what was planned: The update was originally listed on the content roadmap (opens in new tab) as "Bad Luck," but the name was changed to better reflect the different direction it's taking: Instead of bad luck, this update will bring saunas, which are in part a reflection of the culture at Iceflake Studios, the Finland-based developer of Surviving the Aftermath.

"It's very much a Finnish thing," Iceflake's Joanna Lankoski explains in the video. "We are people who are, actually some people are born in saunas in Finland, so it is a huge cultural thing for us. It's -20, -30 degrees in the winters here, you kind of want a place that's hot and warm and everything."

Saunas are great for relaxing in, but there are practical bonuses too: They improve the hygiene of your colonists, which helps prevent them from falling ill so quickly and easily in a world suffering from the effects of fallout and radiation. Another new structure, the lightning rod, also has heightened importance in this post-apocalyptic setting, which is wracked by supercharged lightning storms that can do serious damage to your buildings.

What may prove to be the biggest change is the addition of ideologies, selected at the start of the game. Players can opt to focus one of three approaches to rebuilding humanity in this awful new world—survival, building, or exploration—each of which will enable unique new options in the tech tree. It's very basic at this point, but further expansion and changes are possible, based on player feedback. To assist the developers in figuring all that out, the built-in feedback system has also been updated.

Full details on the Sanctuary update, which will also feature a new iteration of the trade system and various balance changes and bug fixes, will be revealed in the patch notes, which will be released along with the update itself on March 5.

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.