In the course of roughly 15-20 minutes from Frostpunk, I moved from deciding on which to send out scouts to harvest supplies and create heat from the freezing cold, to enacting legislation of whether or not to impose child labour laws and also the way to do with the bodies of people that are dead.
In the event the game’s trailers or idea vision didn’t already make this obvious from the start, Frostpunk is a game characterized by means of a bleak setting and tone, but people that dig a bit deeper will probably find a game that’s as much hard and jaw-dropping since it is haunting and and menacing.
During PAX East 2018 we had the opportunity to take a look at the forthcoming Frostpunk from developer 11 bit studios ahead of its launch, which is coming on PC in only a few weeks on April 24th, 2018. Coming from the developers of 2014’s This War of Mine, Frostpunk is likely to draw in players acquainted with that game’s striking premise and survival gameplay. Beyond this though, Frostpunk draw some distinctive and interesting ideas to the table using its combination of simulation game gameplay and survival mechanisms, also it’s all wrapped up in a world which I truly wanted to find out more about, despite probably never wanting to live be there myself.
As a brief intro into the game, Frostpunk is a city-building and direction simulation game which combines together elements from survival games. The game puts you in charge because the leader of a team in a type of alternate history version of the 19th century, even since the world has changed into a frozen wasteland with temperatures and odds of success. Considering that the brutal temperatures and weather, the stakes are large as your people will rely on warmth, food, energy, and much more to sustain life, but along the way many difficulties will appear which will force players to make some hard decisions in the name of surviving.
From the beginning, players can set their city and then expand their city from that point. Much like other plan or sim games, early on the attention of Frostpunk is resource gathering and establishing fundamental settlements and stations. From that point, players may then train specialized employees to build new structures, supply heat and food to the developing population and, in the future, finally construct beacons and send scouts out to other parts of the planet to recruit new settlers, locate more resources, and more.
Frostpunk can basically be compared to something like a suspended post-apocalyptic model of SimCity, however what actually makes Frostpunk so affecting are the choices that it places in the hands of players to keep the population alive. Even from the short demo time I had with the game in PAX East I already felt pressure from a number of the things which the game was inquiring of me with only a couple of dozen people, given a few dozen hours of playtime I can only envision the bets that the game increases with much more mouths to feed and more dire conditions.
Thematically, Frostpunk and its placing discuss a great deal of similarities with all the studio’s past game This War of Mine, although it corrects the scale of its ideas and tones in a far grander way. Where in This War of Mine players were grasping with the concept of survival amongst a small group of men and women in life during wartime at a fictional European town, Frostpunk highlights survival and making tough decisions about a far larger scale. This War of Mine held you accountable for a little group of individuals, while instead Frostpunk puts you in control of a burgeoning city and a population of several hundred.
This sets Frostpunk in an interesting place as 11 little studios (intentionally) is having a lot of the mechanisms and systems that made This War of Mine therefore affecting and strong, but rather applies them to an environment with considerably unique conditions. Where each death or catastrophe in This War of Mine felt devastating, Frostpunk seems to be putting players under more rough conditions of needing to dangle resides in the balance for the larger good. The game also strays away from attempting to lump down your decisions into “great” or “bad” choices as, given the conditions, you may undoubtedly need to generate some hard choices to spare your people (or at least as many of these as possible).
Aside from the basic cycle of collecting resources, developing new constructions, and adding to and developing your town, one of the most intriguing mechanics that Frostpunk utilizes is The Book of Law. Essentially, during specific points in the lifespan of town, you (as the ruler of the city) will have to make decisions concerning enacting certain laws that is going to have an influence on your developing city, at the title of the larger good. In my demo, this included a pivotal choice of whether or not to integrate child labour laws, which could have an influence on the people’s hope in my direction, but also provide a valuable variety of employees to gather resources or maintain the town’s structures. Later on, more dire decisions can get involved like deciding how to dispose of bodies that are dead, or becoming as dark as if to endorse cannibalism.
Between handling your sources, developing your town, expanding your reach into other parts of earth, and fulfilling the needs of your visitors as best as you can, I would admit that Frostpunk might be a little overwhelming to people that may be fresh to city-building games such as this. However whatever the challenge amount and depth I’m sure it’ll have, Frostpunk leverages that sophistication with a dramatic setting that I couldn’t shake my focus out of, and moral choices that had me genuinely at odds with my own private choices.
Similar to This War of Mine prior to it, 11 bit studios will have players questioning their own decisions from Frostpunk, also appear to have perfected producing scenarios where there is no perfect solution to everything. However, in the wake of spending some time at Frostpunk‘s chilling and bleak universe, I’m anticipating getting those out living that I could.
Frostpunk will launch PC on April 24th, 2018, and programmer 11 bit studios has stated it has plans to deliver the game to consoles down the line.