Why change the game direction in EVERSPACE 2 to an open-world space looter-shooter despite the predecessor’s commercial success as a linear roguelike space shooter?
To really understand what aspects of the original EVERSPACE fans liked and disliked the most, and what they wished for our next game, we evaluated some 30,000 comments on social media and 5,000 user reviews on Steam. While almost everyone loved the fast-paced 3D space combat and tight Freelancer-inspired controls, the roguelike game loop was clearly not for everyone, especially for those who were hoping for a spiritual successor of Freelancer or Galaxy on Fire 2, which we were best known for when our previous studio was one of the best in premium 3D mobile gaming.
Thanks to the commercial success of our debut title after our reboot as ROCKFISH Games, we saw the chance of making the fast-paced open-world space shooter for PC and consoles that we had always wanted to make. However, we also knew we would not be able to compete with space game juggernauts like Elite:Dangerous and Star Citizen, so we had to come up with a hook that would set EVERSPACE 2 apart from its peers, without blowing our budget and, ideally, living up to the arcadey appeal and “one-more-run” character of the predecessor.
Being huge fans of Diablo, our team came up with the idea of throwing deep itemization, modern RPG elements, and modular playership design approach into the mix. Not only did this tick all the boxes above, we could also build on our experience of having randomised loot, crafting, RPG-style ship classes, and perk trees from the first EVERSPACE instalment.
How long does it take to complete EVERSPACE 2?
Players focused on the main story missions and only exploring a few side missions can complete the game in around 30 hours. To fully complete all the side quests, explore every region, solve every puzzle, finish every racing event, gain all reputation bonuses, and wrap up all other content, completionists will be looking at more than 90 hours of playtime. Of course, completing all this side content is optional, but it is there for space game enthusiasts to enjoy as they wish.
What is the story of EVERSPACE 2?
The story of EVERSPACE 2 picks up several years after the events of the original title. As one of the surviving clone pilots, Adam Roslin is making his way in the universe while trying to stay under the Colonial fleet’s radar. A chance encounter against a band of outlaws sends Adam on a path to ruin or riches as the events of his past tangle with the intrigues of the DMZ.. Adam must make alliances within the factions who control the region as he seeks crew members with the skills to pull off a massive heist. War is brewing—as Adam scours star systems, uncovers ancient secrets, and navigates treacherous space, tensions between mankind and the Okkar rise.
Playing the original EVERSPACE will add flavour to the world and story of EVERSPACE 2, but in-game codexes and in-game story beats will fill in players who only experience this sequel.
Who are the companions in EVERSPACE 2 and what do they do?
During Adam’s journey through the systems of Cluster 34, you’ll encounter many faces new and old. Early on, you’ll meet Dax Bashar – a fellow prisoner turned mentor, Dr. Delia Wendo – a medical expert who’s found herself far from home, Corben “Ben” Grendal – your home base engineer, and fan favourite outlaw wingman Elek as well as several others.
Companions in EVERSPACE 2 do more than hang out at home base, some will join the fight during high pressure combat situations, others will provide upgradable passive perks related to their expertise. Spending credits and resources to improve perks vastly improves your chances of surviving in the DMZ.
How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
Throughout the last two years of Early Access, we’ve iterated on core gameplay mechanics, UI/UX, world design, and overall game performance through a series of major updates. We’ve added new features, ships, star systems, voice acting, and other content while listening to community feedback.
When we launched into Early Access, EVERSPACE 2 offered the first twelve hours of game story in the first and second star systems, Ceto and Union as well as many side areas to explore. This early version of the game showed core gameplay mechanics of space combat, exploration, mining, puzzle-solving, itemization, crafting, ship customization, player and companion perks as well as five different player ship subclasses.
At launch EVERSPACE 2 features:
- 30+ hours of main campaign story
- 90+ total hours of exploration including side missions, secrets, and location challenges
- 6 star systems to explore
- 100+ unique hand-crafted areas
- 9 player ship subclasses featuring 4 tiers, each class with their own perks and ultimate abilities
- 11 different factions to encounter, each with multiple enemy ship and defensive unit types
- A massive array of customization options for each ship
- Collectable blueprints unlocking crafting and dismantling options
- Hundreds of different equippable weapon and gear types
- 7 companions to recruit, each with their own set of upgradable perks
- A level 30 player level cap
- Unlockable fast travel locations
- Ancient Rifts endgame content – push your luck against increasingly difficult waves of enemies to unlock powerful legendary weapons and gear, each with a unique property
- A wide variety of radiant faction jobs that unlock valuable reputation bonuses
- Achievements and Steam Trading Cards
- Localization in English, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, and Spanish
- HOTAS/HOSAS controller support
Known Issues (Last Updated March 16)
- Some translations are not done. If something is not translated, the game will default to English.
- Visions videos, short flashback/dream type visuals, are currently WIP and the final versions will be added at 1.0
- HDR is currently experimental
- TrackIR: HUD projection exceeding float calculation in some locations, causing the crosshair to reset to the centre of screen repeatedly
- The following heavy-class Tier 4 heavy-class player ships will be updated with final meshes at 1.0
- Gunship – Dominator
- Bomber – Titan
- Vindicator – Typhoon
- Steam Achievements work, but have “Test Achievement” names and no descriptions
- Video subtitles can have inaccuracies and timing issues
- When firing beam lasers the moment an in-game cutscene is started, it is possible beams will show during that cutscene
- Item attributes (except DPS) are not showing the buffed value for items with affixes and items with added catalysts
For how long has EVERSPACE 2 been in development and how large is the team?
Our creative director, a core team of five veteran devs, plus a long-term concept artist contractor started shaping the vision of an open-world space looter shooter RPG at the end of 2018. It took this team about three months to define the overall look & feel of EVERSPACE 2, iterate on the second-to-second game design of the predecessor, and rewrite the code for space combat, flying physics and input controls from scratch, and then add the new pillars into a compelling tech demo featuring:
- Modular playerships with very high surface details and deep customization possibilities while at the same time following strict, class-based design rules to make each model look distinguishable and visually appear to belong to a certain subclass.
- An expansive, persistent open-world game map with hundreds of handcrafted locations featuring a great level of detail and state-of-the art global illumination for maximum visual quality and gameplay control..
- Randomized loot drops and inventory item management, featuring various rarities and stats to compare that work well on both PC and console
In early 2019, the rest of the ROCKFISH Games team joined production to create a polished prototype to announce EVERSPACE 2 and demo at Gamescom. This was shortly followed by a successful Kickstarter campaign. As we ramped up into full production, story writers Joshua Rubin and Bernie Duffy joined us to help write an exciting story campaign as well as numerous side missions.
EVERSPACE 2 was designed to utilise 2021/2022 era GPU performance to play the final game in 4K at 60FPS with max settings at the top end. During Early Access, we have done a significant amount of optimization to ensure the game plays well even on much less capable gaming hardware. The game does NOT support ray tracing because SSGI (Screen Space Global Illumination) is almost as good in an open space environment but has a much lower performance cost, especially when enabling DLSS 2.0 and FSR 2.0.
The game supports fully customizable controls for mouse + keyboard, gamepad, as well as HOTAS/HOSAS incl. presets for popular Logitech and Thrustmaster joysticks hardware setups.
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Memory: 8GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 (3GB) or AMD Radeon R9 290 (4GB)
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 50GB available space
This game is in Early Access; minimum specifications may change during development.
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Memory: 16GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB) or AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB)
DirectX: Version 12
Storage: 50GB available space
SSD recommended. This game is in Early Access; minimum specifications may change during development.
Will there be post-launch content?
Yes, there will be at least one free DLC adding new item sets, further ship customization, improved gamepad support (fully customizable using a gamepad as well as hot wheel selection for ship devices and consumables). In this Free DLC scheduled for Q3 2023, we plan to add more sophisticated endgame activities like more diverse bosses and the chance of tier 1 – 4 ship blueprints dropping in Ancient Rifts, allowing pilots to build their own vessels. The team is already working on a major, paid expansion adding new star systems, background stories and missions for all companions, new gear, and much more for mid 2024.
Keyboard or controller for EVERSPACE 2?
As EVERSPACE 2 is a fast-paced space shooter with so much focus on moment-to-moment combat, we’ve put significant work into ensuring ships and firing controls are as close to perfectly responsive for players as we can get. At PC launch, our dev team and testers believe using mouse and keyboard is currently the optimal way to play EVERSPACE 2.
Players using console-type controllers are aided with a slight auto aim (adjustable in settings) to offset some of the increased difficulty, especially for 6DOF controls (six degrees of freedom). We plan to continue refining the controller experience even further on the road to console launch this summer.
It’s worth noting that HOTAS/HOSAS type controllers provide a more immersive experience when playing space flight sims, but also a more difficult one simply based on the increased complexity of the equipment.
What about piloting capital ships, corvettes, etc…?
At its core, the EVERSPACE franchise stands for fast-paced 3D shooter combat, gear management, and exploration in open space, on planets, and inside of narrow spaces. Piloting capital ships would not only dilute this strong proposition, it would also cause a myriad of game design and technical issues. The demand for that feature is actually quite low.
What about Space Legs or any other EVA (Extra Vehicle Activities)?
While other space games have successfully added EVA to follow this trend, we don’t feel that leaving your spaceship would be a great addition to EVERSPACE 2. With our strong focus on a fast-paced looter shooter with starfighters, it is vital to really nail that experience and deliver on our promises. We strongly believe in only implementing features that add to the overall game experience for the majority of our fans without getting old quickly or even becoming a chore.
Will there be any sort of multiplayer version?
EVERSPACE 2 was designed as a narrative-driven, single-player experience. Adding online multiplayer would not only dilute this proposition and make things really complicated game design-wise, it would also mean a hefty increase of our development budget and add at least a full year of extra development time to the production. The demand for multiplayer is actually quite low and the vast majority of our fans would rather want us to create more single-player content and features.
Will EVERSPACE 2 have VR Support?
We do not plan to include VR support for EVERSPACE 2. We invested significantly to have optional VR support in the original EVERSPACE. Unfortunately, it was not a good business decision for a variety of reasons. We saw negative reviews from VR users expecting full VR controller support though the game had never been designed as a VR-only game, users missing or ignoring the need to change graphics settings when playing in VR accordingly, and non-VR users ignoring the game due to its VR support tag on PC games storefronts. As EVERSPACE 2 is a far more complex title, adding this feature would take way more effort to create a proper VR experience for a still comparatively small audience.