Rocky launch of Kerbal Space Program 2 (opens in a new tab) in Early Access last week was met with an avalanche of comments, misunderstandings and conflicts among the game community. Audiences and reviewers lament bugs and performance issues and features deemed “missing”. (opens in a new tab), while others are quite happy that the graphics are nice and “the rocket keeps going up”. Here on PC Gamer, Noah Smith said the Early Access launch was “only for seasoned astronauts”. (opens in a new tab)
Some gamers blamed this on the decision to launch the game in Early Access, theorizing it was a corporate decision by publisher Private Division after switching studios and three years of delays. These flames fueled some, and dimmed others, the information that dataminers and modders began to find in the KSP2 code. One dataminer reported (opens in a new tab) finding “most of the… mod API, multiplayer sync code, colony management and supply route setup, research, aero heating” and other code elements.
Private Division did not explicitly confirm that these data-driven features are in development, but the publisher generally responded to what the community discovered: “What players are discovering is evidence and acknowledgment of the massive amount of work that went under the hood to make Kerbal ready Space Program 2 for new features coming to Early Access, such as colonies, interstellar travel, and eventually multiplayer. Players are also finding other breadcrumbs, and we’re very excited to share them when the time is right, but we don’t want to spoil anything!”
The publisher also emphasized that the game’s release pattern was not, as some players have suggested, neutered by the management shift towards an early access rather than a full game release. “The decision to release in Early Access has not impacted our feature set. The complexity of the game, like the original, means that KSP 2 is superior to the Early Access process where we can collaborate with our community,” they said.
This is a strong acknowledgment from Private Division that more work has gone into KSP2 than is immediately evident in its currently limited features. It’s no surprise that there’s so much unfinished work in the code – a game about engineering and experimentation is uniquely suited to an Early Access model where near-finished features are skipped because they cause critical bugs that can’t be fixed in time. Moreover, development artifacts remain in the code all the time. Many known mods are based on finishing and “restoring” just such cut content or cut features in games.
For its part, Private Division seems genuinely grateful for all the fan feedback, some of which is quite extensive – like a huge open letter (opens in a new tab) signed by dozens of Kerbal Space Program modders. “We’ve already seen rapid growth in our ability to test implemented features and adjust priorities based on community feedback, and that’s just within 4 days of launch!” they said.
“The community is experiencing bugs and performance issues, some of which we’ve already worked on and some new ones that we weren’t aware of yet, but are actively working on fixes now. We are incredibly grateful to the community for their patience and have been touched by all the supportive comments we’ve seen on Discord, forums, subreddit and Steam.”
Private Division also directed players who were curious or confused by the state of development to the Pre-release Notes and Launch Day for examples of known bugs and performance issues in the first early access version of KSP2.
Kerbal Space Program 2, now in Early Access directly from the publisher, on Epic and Steam, continues what we’ve long called one of the best flight simulators on PC, and one of the few that simulates space travel to the depth it does.