Kerbal Space Program for PlayStation 4 was announced last night during Sony's presentation to Latin American countries, live from E3 in Los Angeles. Polygon sat down with KSP's producer Miguel Sabido via Skype from his office in Mexico City to learn more about the port and what it means for the developers at Squad.
"We've been eyeing consoles for a while," Sabido told Polygon. "The current ones are capable of running a game like KSP really well, if not fantastically depending on our optimization. But whenever we tried to put it into a plan it would just get in the way of development."
Thanks to a dearth of PC gaming in Latin America, KSP is relatively unknown there. Sabido hopes that coming to the PS4 will give them added sales momentum.
KSP only recently emerged from beta testing for its 1.0 release, a move that came after years spent in early access. Sabido said the title's success, chronicled in Polygon's feature last year, was the forerunner of a growth spurt for the Latin American games industry.
"The fact is that the gaming scene in Latin America has started to boom," Sabido said. "It’s not at a huge level now, but every day we’re starting to hear about new developers and new projects and new games popping up all over — between Mexico and Argentina and everything in between."
Sabido went on to say that the size of the PlayStation 4 install base in Latin America made the decision to announce the release of KSP during Sony's presentation easy. The team at Squad has not ruled out building for the Xbox One in the future.
"Sony is the dominant console here," Sabido said. "While it’s a lot of goodwill for PlayStation, we thought we kind of owe something to our national and native market."
The port of KSP is being done in Unity by a developer called Flying Tiger Entertainment, previously a developer of mobile games.
"The gaming scene in Latin America has started to boom."
"When we were looking around we found a studio with a tech demo of [KSP] that was just working perfectly," Sabido said. "They floored us." It took about a month to get the Unity engine to do what they needed it to do, Sabido said, but after that it's been smooth sailing for more than six months.
"We do a couple of things that the Unity engine doesn’t like," Sabido said. "But, the problem with a game of our scope is that no engine on the market is built for planetary systems and interacting with gravity and stuff like that."
Console controls, Sabido added, are largely being gleaned from community-based mods already available in the game's forums. The PS4 version will feature a new, unified UI system that may carry over into the PC game.
The team at Squad is hoping to have KSP availably by the third quarter of this year.
Update: We have adjusted the article above to provide more clarity to Squad's decision to release on PS4.