Three years after launch - and seven years after it hit Steam in Early Access - hit strategy game Factorio is getting its first expansion, and the designer of a notably similar mod is working on it.
If you're not familiar with Factorio, it's essentially a strategy game where you build factories on an alien planet, efficiently processing resources in order to eventually build a space rocket. The newly-announced expansion, Factorio: Space Age, continues the game past that ending, allowing you to build orbital space platforms and explore four new planets, each of which has its own resources and gameplay mechanics.
In a new blog, the devs say that they're comfortable enough with the shape of the expansion that they'll be releasing more details about it weekly from here on out. For now, the expansion is planned for launch in about a year's time.
For Factorio veterans, this expansion might sound similar to Space Exploration, an expansive mod developed by a modder called Earendel. Earendel joined the actual Factorio dev team several years ago, and says that for Space Age "I made the first space and planets prototype builds and plus I've been involved in most of the gameplay discussions since."
The mod is notoriously complex, as Earendel acknowledges. "Space Exploration is targeted at a small set of challenge-seekers, it's not for everyone by design. Space Age is targeted at all Factorio players with better approachability in mind." That alone makes for a pretty notable distinguishing point between the mod and the official release.
Factorio is the rare Steam game that never goes on sale, and it got a price hike earlier this year to account for inflation.