Kickstarted multiplayer sandbox ECO releases a roadmap from early access to launch


It’s been a few months since we talked much about ECO, the Kickstarted sandbox that has enchanted pretty much everyone who gives in to pick it up. Way back in 2015, Strange Loop Games raised $202K on the platform to fund the perfect ecosystem-driven survival game, though not the sort where you punch trees and freeze to death your second night of play. And unlike many other Kickstarter titles, this one kept updating steadily over the past eight years. It even led to one of the best headlines on MOP of all time: ECO is full of garbage. (Literally, the studio patched in a garbage decomposition system, which is a good representation of the level of ecosystem detail present in the game.)

The game’s most recent update landed just before the end of the year, a major release that added town establishment and boat construction and heaps of other content. But of course, it was still an early access patch.

Well, that won’t be the case for much longer, as a new roadmap this week explains that the game’s 2024 goal is to hit 1.0 and depart early access for good.

“With our biggest update ever – ‘Eco 10’ – out the door, it’s time to set our eyes on the next big milestone: Eco V1, exiting Early Access! Early Access has been an amazing way to develop this experimental new genre of a living government/economy/ecosystem mashed together and run by real people, we’ve got so much great feedback from the community, as well as funding to let us build out the extent of our vision. Now, with the bulk of features added (minus a couple big ones coming this year), we plan to spend the year building and then exit Early Access at the end of the year/beginning of next year.”

To accomplish that, the team will be focused on “improving and polishing existing systems rather than introducing new ones”; specifically, it’s working on more profession content, more upgrades, improvements to the crafting and recycling systems, accessibility tweaks, new user experience polish, housing improvements, and yes, even more garbage systems.

“It’s worth noting that once we do exit Early Access, things will not slow down, in fact they will likely speed up, as we have lots more plans we want to do after that,” Strange Loop says. “Trains for example will be a big one post v1, which was neck and neck with Animal Husbandry as the marquee feature, but we decided it’s better to stay focused on just one of the two and so will make Trains in an early update post v1.”

Source: Steam
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