The original Unexplored (opens in new tab), released in 2017, was something of a technological proof-of-concept: It's a fairly conventional roguelike that employs subtle procedural generation to elevate its 20-floor Dungeons of Doom to something that feels more handcrafted than most comparable games. Wes described it as "quietly revolutionary" when he selected it as his "Personal Pick (opens in new tab)" in our 2017 Game of the Year awards.
"Floors aren't randomly generated independently, but are generated intelligently, with knowledge of one another, and with flavor text that tells a story about past adventurers and your own future obstacles," he wrote. "Foreshadowing! And it's not just hinty stuff. There are real characters in the lore, too, and they'll talk about bosses you'll encounter in the dungeon."
The sequel, Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy (opens in new tab), builds upon that technology, but trades the confines of the Dungeons of Doom for big, open spaces, and "a much richer, more immersive, and even more expansive experience," the Steam listing (opens in new tab) says. "We want players to escape into a world that has a real sense of exploration and wonder, with captivating stories and adventures unique to every different hero."
It'll be quite awhile yet before we're able to see if the developers achieve that lofty goal—it's not expected to be out until 2021—but you'll soon have an opportunity to see how work is progressing by way of a beta test that will begin on November 11. If you're interested in taking part, just give 'em your name and email address at bigsugar.com (opens in new tab), and then cross your fingers and wait. There will be a limited number of keys given out for this beta, but the developers plan follow-up beta tests, so hopefully everyone who's interested will get a chance to try the game ahead of release.
We had a chance to get a look at Unexplored 2 in 2019, and even at that pre-release point it seemed very promising (opens in new tab). "It's an ambitiously open design for a roguelike, especially for a small team of five core developers, including a dedicated artist and a dedicated musician," Wes wrote. "On top of the code that came over from the first Unexplored, there's quite a bit more that's new. Combat is completely overhauled, there's a day/night system, you can hunt and will need food to survive. Characters will have 'backgrounds' that determine some of their skills and interactions."
The Unexplored 2 beta test will take place on the Epic Games Store (opens in new tab), and is scheduled to run for two weeks.