11 Bit Studios, developers of the city builder and survival title Frostpunk, might have just teased a sequel in a foreboding new trailer.
Polish game developer 11 Bit Studios teased a potential sequel to its popular and wildly imaginative city-survival game Frostpunk with a barebones teaser trailer. The possible sequel would presumably follow in the footsteps of the 2018 game, taking place in the same post-apocalyptic ice age. The degree to which the mechanics, tone, and story of the sequel would mirror the first Frostpunk game remains to be seen.
Founded in 2010 by former employees of companies like CD Projekt Red, 11 Bit Studios made a name for itself by crafting bleak worlds filled with characters just barely clinging to life and hope. Its most popular title besides Frostpunk is This World of Mine, a side-scroller that saw players weighing the pros and cons of various moral and ethical quandaries in the name of survival. The choice to focus on an oppressive tone, ethics-based decision making, and resource management in This War of Mine primed 11 Bit Studios to take on the much more ambitious and mechanically complex Frostpunk, a game that tasked players with tackling similar conundrums on a larger scale, four years later.
The painfully short teaser-trailer released by 11 Bit Studios on June 10 opens with a quote from 1970s British Prime Minister Harold Wilson: “He who rejects change is the architect of decay“. The camera then pans across the snow-laden ground and across a bloody ax before showing the viewer a spilled oil canister and a shirtless man on his knees. Whether he is still a member of the world of the living is left up to interpretation. The teaser caps off with a title card declaring that there will be some sort of reveal on August 12, 2021.
The clip doesn’t provide much in the way of clarity – it is called a teaser, after all – but there are still some details worth digging into. First, the quote from former PM Wilson regarding change and decay: the first Frostpunk put the player in the role of leader, giving them all manner of executive tools and administrative control over their struggling city. Quoting Wilson could be both a nod to the game’s UK setting and a suggestion that the player will need to make even more radical decisions in the name of survival and progress. Following this, the striking image of the bloodied ax in the snow evokes a sense of civil unrest as a byproduct of said radical decisions.
The first Frostpunk featured riots that could escalate into violent government overthrows, as well as the option to rule with an iron fist, employing enforcers to beat detractors into submission and killing them if necessary. Finally, the oil in the snow signifies a potentially massive leap forward for Frostpunk‘s means of production, as the height of industrial innovation in the first game stopped at the steam engine. A shift to non-renewable, combustible power could have massive implications in a sequel.
Of the many ways Frostpunk sets itself apart from other popular city sim titles like Civilization, perhaps the most striking is the sense that the community is never truly thriving, but merely surviving. What keeps Frostpunk from being overwhelmingly depressing are the bits of light that shine through the cracks; building a tavern for workers to gather and unwind at or setting up a system of faith to give citizens a sense of purpose are imperfect solutions for the looming dread of the Frostpunk universe, but the choice – the sometimes rebellious choice – offered to the player to retain their humanity in the face of doom is what made Frostpunk special, and any sequel that leans into that is bound to be special too.
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Source: 11 Bit Studios
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