Coming soon to PC, Mac, Linux – Gratuitous Space Battles 2

Like the original, GSB2 is a 2D top-down #spacestrategy game based on the idea of hands-off battles between huge armadas of player-design #spaceships. GSB 1 sold over 150,000 copies on PC and continues to be popular with gamers, especially through the extensive mod scene and it’s innovative online asynchronous ‘challenge’ battles.

Cliff Harris of Positech Games does no’t think it’s much of a surprise, but just in case anyone was wondering, he made it official today that Gratuitous Space Battles 2 is in the works. It’s all about doing the job properly this time around, he said, and that means the sequel will be “bigger, bolder, better and have more cool effects than you can shake a laser gun at.”

That’s not to suggest that Gratuitous Space Battles was a flop by any means. In fact, Harris said it sold very well and has remained popular thanks to a dedicated modding community. Yet he also sounded somewhat dissatisfied with the game, writing, “The reason for doing a sequel isn’t financial though (I’d be doing Democracy 4 if it was), but driven more by a desire to do the job properly.”

It’s all about massive scale and popping eye-candy, a design philosophy perhaps epitomized by support for twin 2560-wide monitors. “As a kid I grew up watching the original Star Wars movies and playing Elite. Space Battles are in my blood and I love them,” he wrote. “Game-wise, I *want* to like EVE Online, but I’m sick of being ganked by some teenage boy and his pals for their amusement. I don’t want the lowliest of the low mining ships that gets one-shot killed. I want a huge, fuck-off spacefleet. I want to be Ackbar.”

GSB2 uses an entirely re-written custom engine, vastly better visual effects, a much-improved GUI, and will feature steam achievements, mod support and some very sexy undisclosed new features. The game is especially targeting gamers with multiple monitor setups who enjoy ridiculously over the top space battles, but the engine should comfortable scale down to much older PC’s too. The aim is to replicate all of the OTT silliness of sci-fi movie user-interfaces.

A bare-bones website offers a few details about the game and a pair of very sweet screens, including one showing off the glory of a 2560 double-wide battle. The game is being developed for Windows, Linux and Mac, but not tablets, because it’s designed for “gratuitously big monitors.” Gameplay sounds like it will be much like the original GSB, with custom-built fleets engaging in 2D, hands-off gameplay, but the engine has been “substantially improved” to provide a more immersive, 3D experience.

Other changes include three new classes of ships, overhauled fighter handling, orders and “a big, exciting new feature in the game that we have not announced yet, but [that] will completely transform the experience of playing Gratuitous Space Battles.” Oculus Rift support, anyone? (No, probably not.)

The release date for Gratuitous Space Battles 2 is ‘probably 2014, possibly early 2015. Positech have not yet decided whether to have a pre-order beta system but this is a strong possibility. The game will be available on PC, Linux and Mac and the engine is custom-written by the developer.

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