Kerbal Space Program at 10: Talking the game's legacy and upcoming sequel
We were recently able to catch up with Nestor Gomez, Head of Production at Squad.
It has now been a decade since Kerbal Space Program first rocketed its way onto the scene and in that time it has seen some pretty remarkable achievements. The acclaimed simulator has frequently collaborated with space agencies such as NASA over the years and it has been consistent in providing new updates and improvements (a new-gen console version is even planned for later this year). With the title celebrating its 10th anniversary, we caught up with Nestor Gomez, Head of Production at Squad to discuss its legacy and upcoming sequel.
Gamereactor: Over the years, Kerbal has become a massively popular title. How has its crazy success affected you as a developer and in your improvement of the game?
Nestor: Squad has grown alongside KSP overtime. The challenges have been different; from getting the project started to keeping players engaged by constantly delivering new content. It's hard to believe that KSP was the first and only retail game developed by Squad. I think this success happened thanks to the passion all the people involved with KSP over the years feel for the project. That same passion has made it easier to keep players in mind while picking the next features to include into the game and improving KSP over time.
Gamereactor: How have you seen Kerbal's influence on other titles over the past 10 years?
Nestor: We have seen some specific references to KSP in other games and that's great. One of our goals has always been to increase interest on space exploration while having fun - seeing us having some influence in other games that have similar goals is rewarding. I personally think that KSP has been one of the biggest influences on the space exploration genre in the last decade and the team feels very proud about that.
Gamereactor: You've frequently worked with NASA to both make the game better and to encourage people to be more interested and engaged in aerospace engineering, but how has that relationship evolved over the years, and how can we expect it to impact Kerbal 2?
Nestor: The relationship with NASA and other space agencies and space companies has been wonderful. Several times it has started because there were some employees that already knew about KSP and that has been very helpful establishing those relationships. We are definitely excited about keeping those relationships and growing them for Kerbal Space Program 2 and even further into the future. As you said, we share common goals with them and there will be a lot of opportunities in the future for collaborations.
Gamereactor: What has developing a game for a decade taught you? What is a piece of information you would pass on to budding developers?
Nestor: Making games is very tough, very few games are actually successful and just a small amount still have active players after 10 years of development. In our case some of the factors that I consider have been key to our success are: support for mods, a close relationship with our community and constant game updates but I don't think that's a recipe that can ensure success to every game. My suggestion is to follow your passion and listen to your players.
Gamereactor: What's a feature or mechanics that you've never quite been able to make happen in Kerbal, but have always been interested in doing?
Nestor: There are a lot of features that we could have added to KSP. Just looking at what mods add to KSP, you get an idea of how much the game can grow. At the same time, I do feel we were able to add several very useful features that will allow players to keep playing KSP for a long time. I am excited to see where the game is taken by modders over the next years.
Gamereactor: What are some of the best mods and creations that you have seen from the community over that time?
Nestor: I personally like visual mods and mods that add more planets to the game but the good thing about our modding community is that there's something for every taste. From extreme difficulty, increased realism, useful tools to very silly mechanics. It's just great that players have such freedom.
Gamereactor: We know a sequel is on the way for 2022. What can fans expect from this next installment?
Nestor: You can definitely expect the same passion put into the first game to be there for the sequel. You should also expect developers to keep listening to the community and support for mods as a core of the design.
Gamereactor: How do you plan the sequel to be a superior experience to a game you have been developing for a decade?
Nestor: That's not something I can answer but based on what I've seen so far, the team at Intercept Games is doing great on improving some key areas of the game and that's very exciting. I would love to see KSP2 to stay around as long as KSP has.