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Kerbal Space Program 2’s latest update launches player count into orbit

The struggling aerospace sim update saw a 1700% positive shift in Steam player count

A screenshot of a craft in orbit in Kerbal Space Program 2 Image: Private Division
Alice Jovanée (she/her) is a commerce writer, and she has been writing about gaming and tech since 2005. Prior to Polygon, she worked at publications such as The Verge.

The latest update for Kerbal Space Program 2 launched on Tuesday and has provided some much-needed Delta-V to a game that’s been struggling to break orbit. Following the update, KSP2 saw a whopping 1,700% jump in its player count on Steam as fans scrambled to experience the “For Science!” update. While it’s already received a number of bug fixes and other adjustments, “For Science!” represents the first substantial content update for KSP2 since its launch back in February.

A screenshot of a rocket lifting off in Kerbal Space Program 2 Image: Private Division

The key addition with the aptly named update is a new exploration game mode, which features missions and an expansive tech tree, similar to what we saw in the original Kerbal Space Program. These additions not only make KSP2 feel like a more complete game, but provide more stepping stones for anyone who might otherwise feel intimidated about jumping face-first into the inky void of space. Your initial catalog of parts is limited, but as you run more experiments and slowly slip the surly bonds of gravity, more possibilities open up to the player.

A screenshot of the tech tree in Kerbal Space Program 2 Image: Private Division

The exploration game mode also grants access to mission control, which provides players with a series of increasingly difficult milestones to guide them on their journey. While there still isn’t any penalty associated with failure, the addition of objectives and unlockables has provided a way to keep you engaged past your initial point of curiosity. Something KSP2 was in dire need of following its initial steps into early access.

A screenshot from KSP2’s For Science! update. Image: Private Division

If you’d like to experience the “For Science!” update, you can pick up a copy of KSP2 for $39.99 from Steam through Jan. 4. or at Epic for $25.11 through Jan. 10.

A Kerbal from the Kerbal Space Program 2 announcement trailer

Kerbal Space Program 2

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If you spent way too much time designing your own ship in Starfield, you might want to check out Kerbal Space Program 2. While it’s still in early access, the game offers an already amazing number of parts to build your own extrasolar vehicles including rovers, rockets, spaceplanes, and more.

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