Everspace 2 preview

It’s not out for another two years, but we’re already taking a first look at Everspace 2 from Rockfish Games – coming to PCs and consoles and heading to Kickstarter very soon.

What we know

Recently announced at Gamescom, Everspace 2 is the sequel to Rockfish’s 2017 original. It’s due for a Kickstarter very soon, will debut in Early Access on Steam late in 2020 and should launch on PC and consoles (PS 4 and Xbox One) at the end of 2021.

As with the first game, Everspace 2 is still built on the Unreal Engine – albeit a newer version than what was used originally. We’ve also been told the game’s not going to be exclusive to the Epic store, because as CEO Michael Schade put it, there’s no way they could do that to the loyal Steam community that they’ve built up during the development and launch of Everspace.

Much like Everspace, the sequel blends stunning graphics with roguelike elements and tons of loot/trading to help you craft a more powerful ship as you move through the story. But where the world of the original Everspace was procedurally generated, the universe of Everspace 2 is hand-crafted, at least potentially making for better scripted events that help drive the storyline forward.

everspace 2

What we saw

We met with Rockfish CEO Michael Schade at Gamescom the day that Everspace 2 was officially unveiled, after an earlier invite prior to the show made us think “Gee, this sounds like they’re at least building on what they did in Everspace”. The announcement certainly wasn’t our biggest surprise of the show this year, but the fact that the game was already playable for fans on the show floor was – considering the fact that the full release isn’t due for another two years!

We didn’t go hands on with the demo ourselves, but were given access to it after PAX so that we could explore this very early build of the game at our own pace, away from the hustle and bustle of the big trade shows.

What we thought

Our time with Everspace 2 has been limited, but considering how far off the final release is it’s been impressive to see something up and running (very smoothly) already. The demo featured a number of short missions and optional objectives to complete, as well as a surprise attack from a large enemy vessel.

everspace 2b

Not surprisingly, the demo felt a lot like how an expansion for Everspace (the first one) would probably feel. The visuals and the gameplay are similar, and the strength of a large handcrafted universe doesn’t quite come across in a short one hour demo. Obviously though, there is plenty of time for that.

The same can be said about the story, as the character interactions in the demo were mainly just fragments that related to the objectives at hand. I believe Everspace 2 would benefit from adding more animations and voiceovers to the in-game narrative though, and the stills and text used in the demo feel a tad out of sync with how beautiful and ‘next gen’ the visuals and effects are.

In short, it’s an upcoming game that looks like it was designed with fans of the first game in mind. The upcoming Kickstarter and subsequent Early Access phase will tell us much more about what makes Everspace 2 different, we’re sure – but just having more Everspace is plenty of reason to pay attention.

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