Sound the factory-sirens, folks, Wube Software has announced that expansion Factorio: Space Age is coming in 2024. The expansion will make the immensely popular Factorio roughly double in size, Wube has previously said, and the concept has been in the works since at least 2016.
Factorio: Space Age will continue the engineer's journey into space, continuing the main campaign of Factorio itself—which ends with launching a rocket. The new expansion will rebalance that to become sending the first of many rockets into space in order to build space platforms for orbital industry and exploration. That will bring players to four new planets, each of which will have "its own unique theme, resource, challenges and gameplay mechanics."
The structure of the expansion seems to revolve around three new types of scientific research—one for each of three new planets—expanding the "science packs" in Factorio to a total of ten. Those three planets will be visited in any order, and Wube says that the order you exploit them in will be a meaningful choice.
"I always expected it to be quite obvious what we are going to do next," said developer Kovarex on the Factorio blog, before linking to a 2016 post that actually features the idea of space platforms in the original design for Factorio. "But as you might or might not know, the name 'WUBE' is an abbreviation of Wszystko będzie, which means something like 'Everything will be done eventually'. We didn't abandon the plan, we just realized it would be way too ambitious to try to fit it into the 1.0 Factorio release, so it was eventually just postponed to the expansion. In retrospect, it was clearly a good idea."
Factorio: Space Age will release "about one year from now" said Wube. There's still a lot to fix and a lot of playtesting to do on their end. However, now that the biggest changes have been made Wube intends to start posting Factorio Friday Facts updates every week with details on expansion features. That'll last until release, because as Wube has been very clear to say, the expansion is about the size of the main game.
Factorio: Space Age will release alongside a larger update that will come alongside an update to the game engine. That means a lot of improvements will be for everyone who owns Factorio, not just those who buy the expansion. Those will include better controls for trains, better blueprinting, and better flying robot behavior.