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Acclaimed automation sim Factorio is exploring space for its first expansion

A little over three years after acclaimed construction and automation sim Factorio left its lengthy early access with a 1.0 release, developer Wube Software has shared details of its first expansion, Space Age, which will be picking up right where the base game stops.

Factorio, for the uninitiated, casts players as impromptu space industrialists, tasking them with building increasingly elaborate contraptions in a ceaseless grasp for ever-more efficient automation. The ultimate goal is to build a rocket ship enabling you to escape the planet you’ve crash-landed on, which is the point where Space Age kicks in.

In a post revealing first concrete details of Factorio’s expansion, Wube explained Space Age continues the journey after those rockets have launched, taking players out among the stars where they can “discover new worlds with unique challenges, exploit their novel resources for advanced technological gains, and manage [their] fleet of interplanetary space platforms.”

Factorio released in August 2020 after four years in early access.

Wube says players will need to send multiple rockets into space (these will be cheaper to build in Space Age to avoid making the process “drag forever”) as they amass sufficient resources to construct a platform that will generate space science but, more importantly, travel to different planets where the base game’s automation core will expand to interplanetary logistics.

Four pre-defined planets will be included in the expansion, each with its own unique theme, resource, challenges, and mechanics, and “most” will have different military targets. Wube adds that every planet leads to the production of specific science packs and its technologies, and that the order players decide to exploit planets is an “impactful strategic choice”.

To accommodate the expansion’s new style of play, Wube says it’s needed to rebalance some base game elements, meaning that while space will be accessible sooner with Space Age enabled, certain tech tree elements – artillery, cliff explosives, Spidertron, best-of-tier modules, and a number of personal equipment upgrades – will now unlock much later across different planets. On the plus side, some “cool new things” will be added as rewards for progressing through the expansion, alongside some “nice additions” on the original planet, Nauvis.

Space Age doesn’t have a release date yet, but Wube says it’s currently at “Step 5” of its previously discussed seven-step development plan. At this point, content “is more stable and the chance of removing things is lower”, so it’s ready for a “first pass of tweaking”.

“Since we know where we are and what is the goal,” the developer explains, “we can start to approximate the date of releasing the expansion, which is planned to be about one year from now. It is still a long time, but at least it is getting more specific.”

Space Age will launch alongside a 2.0 update for Factorio that’ll include significant improvements for all players, regardless of whether or not they purchase the expansion. These will include “the ability to control train systems better, better blueprint building, better flying robot behaviour, and many more.”

But while Factorio’s Space Age expansion might still be some way off, Wube says, “From now on, we are stopping the embargo on the expansion content, and we will be publishing Friday Facts every week about all the different aspects of the expansion until release!”. So expect to hear plenty more on the road to its eventual arrival.


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