Kerbal Space Program 2 came as a very welcome surprise when it was announced at Gamescom 2019. Following the blueprints of the original KSP, the sequel promises to be a silly and ridiculously difficult physics simulation about shooting tiny green folks into space, developed by the new internal team at Private Division alongside the original developers Squad, and sounds like an ambitious progression of everything Squad's 2015 masterpiece did so well.
Unfortunately the flight plan for this sequel launch has been adjusted multiple times. KSP2 was originally expected in 2020 and is, at least right now, planned for some time in 2023. Now that Squad has wrapped its last major update for the original, it's thrusters on high towards KSP2.
Shocked? Excited? Filled with questions about when you can play it, what you can do in it, and how many explosions it'll take before you reach the Mun? We can help.
Here's everything we know about Kerbal Space Program 2, from its release date to what new features you can expect.
What is the Kerbal Space Program 2 release date?
Kerbal Space Program 2 is expected to release in 2023. Theoretically. After an original release window of early 2020, the game's been delayed four times. Until a firm date materializes, pinning down the game’s release is more astrology than rocket science.
Who's making Kerbal Space Program 2?
Star Theory Games was the developer for this one, replacing Squad, who designed the first game. Star Theory was formerly known as Uber Entertainment, who you may remember from making Monday Night Combat and Planetary Annihilation.
Private Division has since announced that it is moving development in-house to a newly-founded indie studio focused solely on KSP2 development. The change doesn't necessarily represent a complete overhaul, as "key members" of the existing Kerbal 2 team including former Star Theory studio head Jeremy Ables, creative director Nate Simpson, and lead producer Nate Robinson will move to the new studio and continue working on the game.
Original studio Squad is also involved, more so now that it has wrapped up the final update on the original KSP and shifted attention to working on the sequel.
The original KSP has gotten its last major patch
After over a decade of updates and patches, development on Kerbal Space Program is over. Squad launched update 1.12.2 for KSP in August 2021 and announced that with it out the door "we are now shifting gears towards the development of KSP2". Nice!
Construction should be less fiddly in KSP2
In a development update from 2021, the KSP2 team explains how they're looking to make rocket construction less of a pain in KSP2. They don't want "a button to do it for me" and are focused more on making the tools that do exist easier to comprehend. One example the developers give is procedural wings which allow you to change the shape and size of wings while also seeing how things like lift and drag are affected by those changes.
You're also able to work on multiple sub-assemblies parallel to one another. "We have this orthographic view cube—it's much easier to do things like line up a fin or line up a booster on a radial decoupler," the developers say in the same update. "That's a thing that was legendarily difficult to deal with in the original game."
Kerbal Space Program 2 will be easier to learn
One of the things Star Theory is focusing on for the sequel is the tutorial. Kerbal Space Program taught its systems adequately enough, but did a bad job of explaining the scientific and mathematical concepts powering the physics sandbox. For Kerbal Space Program 2, new animations will detail everything from delta-v to docking—ensuring players are armed for success.
To that end, the developers are doubling down on tutorials in KSP2. They don't want it to feel like a textbook, but it is literally rocket science.
"It relies much more heavily on showing rather than telling," the developers say in a 2021 development update. "Everyone's heard the word 'orbit'. Everyone knows satellites go around the Earth. But there's actually some other things about an orbit that are not intuitive until you see them illustrated in an animation." KSP2 will let you opt in or out of these lessons when you need them.
Crucially, it won't be an easier game. As with Kerbal Space Program, you'll be doing a lot of learning through failure. "The fun of failure is a huge part of what makes Kerbal great and a big part of what drives a lot of the social aspect of Kerbal," Michael Cook, executive producer at Private Division, told PC Gamer, "because showing off your fun failures is many times much more entertaining than then even your successes."
Will Kerbal Space Program 2 have multiplayer?
Yes! In our interview with Star Theory, creative director Nate Simpson explained that—while they weren't ready to provide any actual details about how multiplayer would work—"it is true to the spirit of the original Kerbal Space Program". Whatever that means.
Will Kerbal Space Program 2 support mods?
Yes! Despite a new owner and developer, Private Division and Star Theory (opens in new tab) seem to recognise how important mods are to KSP's community. In fact, Kerbal Space Program 2 will have better mod support than the original game, which itself has thousands of mods.
Where is Kerbal Space Program 2 set?
As in the first game, you'll start on the planet Kerbin, at the Kerbal Space Centre. From there, you'll build rockets that will let you explore the Kerbol System—first visiting Kerbin's moon, Mun, and than venturing further out towards Duna, Dres and the other planets and moons of the system.
In Kerbal Space Program 2, though, you'll be able to go beyond the Kerbol System thanks to interstellar travel. Star Theory is looking to the future with a plethora of speculative rocket technology that will allow you Kerbals to venture out beyond the system—ensuring there's plenty that's new to discover.(opens in new tab)
Kerbal Space Program 2 will let you build more than just vehicles
In addition to rockets and spaceplanes, players will now be able to construct entire colonies. By flying colony modules to other planets, players will be able to create habitats that can support a small population of Kerbals. As more resources are transported to the colony, and its population increases, the colony itself will grow—offering more features until eventually they'll offer their own VAB to build new rockets.
A fully-functioning orbital colony will let you construct massive ships free from the restrictions of Kerbin's gravity, which will be a key step in building interstellar craft.
Here's a video on Kerbal Space Program 2's propulsion (opens in new tab)
There will be Torchships, humongous rockets like the kind The Expanse fans will recognize.
OK, but how do I get to space?
Just add more rockets. (opens in new tab)