In the span of approximately 15-20 minutes from Frostpunk, I went from determining where to send scouts to crop supplies and make warmth from the freezing cold, to enacting legislation of whether to inflict child labor laws and also things to do with the bodies of people that are dead. Although this’s just a brief window of time in comparison with the many dozens of hours I’m certain that players can get out of Frostpunk, the game has had a lasting impression on me and needing to learn more from its chilly, striking world.
If the game’s trailers or concept vision didn’t already make this clear from the start, Frostpunk is a game characterized by means of a bleak setting and tone, but those who dig a little deeper will likely find a game that is as much hard and jaw-dropping as it’s haunting as well as menacing.
During PAX East 2018, we had the chance to have a look at the forthcoming Frostpunk from programmer 11 bit studios ahead of its release, which is coming on PC in just a couple weeks on April 24th, 2018. Coming from the programmers of 2014’s This War of Mine, Frostpunk is likely to draw in players familiar with this game’s magnificent premise and survival gameplay. Beyond this though, Frostpunk bring a few special and interesting ideas to the table with its mixture of simulation gameplay and survival mechanisms, and it’s all wrapped up in a freezing world I genuinely wished to learn more about, regardless of likely never needing to reside or be there.
As a brief intro to the game, Frostpunk is a city-building and direction simulation that combines together elements from survival games. The game puts you in charge because the chief of a group in a type of alternate history version of the late 19th century, even since the world has changed into a frozen wasteland with arctic temperatures and chances of survival. Considering that the brutal temperatures and climate, the stakes will be large as the people will rely on warmth, food, power, and much more to sustain life, but along the way various difficulties will arise which will force players to make some difficult decisions in the name of living.
From the beginning, players will establish their town then expand their city from that point. Much as with other plan or sim games, ancient on the focus of Frostpunk is resource collecting and establishing basic settlements and channels. From that point, players may then train technical workers to construct new structures, supply heat and food into the growing population and, in the future, finally build beacons and send scouts from other parts of the globe to recruit new settlers, locate more resources, and more.
Even from the short demo time I had with the game in PAX East I already felt pressure from some of the things which the game was inquiring of me with just a few dozen individuals, given several dozen hours of playtime I can only envision the stakes that the game raises with much more mouths to feed and also more dire circumstances.
Where in This War of Mine players had been grasping with the concept of survival among a small group of men and women in life during wartime in a European European town, Frostpunk highlights survival and making tough decisions about a far bigger scale. This War of Mine held you accountable for a little group of people, while instead Frostpunk puts you in charge of a cosmopolitan city and also a population of several hundred.
This puts Frostpunk in an interesting location as 11 bit studios (intentionally) is using lots of the mechanics and systems that made This War of Mine hence impacting and strong, but instead applies them to an environment with much different conditions. Where each death or tragedy at This War of Mine felt catastrophic, Frostpunk seems to be placing players under more rough conditions of having to dangle resides in the balance for the larger good. The game also strays far away from attempting to lump your decisions down into “great” or “bad” choices as, given the conditions, you will undoubtedly have to make some difficult choices to save your people (or as many of these as possible).
Besides the fundamental cycle of gathering resources, building new constructions, and incorporating to and developing your city, one of the most fascinating mechanics which Frostpunk uses is The Book of Law. Essentially, during certain points in the life span of your city, you (as the ruler of the city) will have to make decisions concerning enacting certain laws that will have an impact on your growing city, at the name of the larger good. From my presentation, this included a pivotal decision of whether to incorporate child labor laws, that may have an impact on the population’s hope in my direction, but also offer a valuable variety of workers to gather resources or take care of the town’s structures. Later on, more dire choices can come into play like deciding how to get rid of dead cells, as well as getting as dark as if to endorse cannibalism.
Between handling your sources, creating your city, expanding your reach into different parts of the world, and fulfilling the needs of your people as best as you can, I would acknowledge that Frostpunk might be somewhat overwhelming to people that may be fresh to city-building games like this. However whatever the challenge level and depth I’m convinced it’ll have, Frostpunk supposes that sophistication with a striking setting that I couldn’t shake my attention out of, and ethical decisions that had me really at odds with my private choices.
Much like This War of Mine prior to it, 11 bit studios may have players questioning their very own conclusions in Frostpunk, also appear to have perfected producing situations where there’s no ideal answer to everything. But in the aftermath of spending time at Frostpunk‘s frightening and bleak world, I’m anticipating getting those out alive that I could.
Frostpunk will launch PC on April 24th, 2018, and developer 11 bit studios has said it has plans to bring the game consoles farther down the line. To find out more on the title, you can also read our full interview with 11 bit studios’ Senior Marketing Manager Karol Zajaczkowski for additional details about the studio’s frozen survival sim.