Kerbal Space Program Preparing to Launch on PS4

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Kerbal Space Program Preparing to Launch on PS4

Almost five years ago, we began the development of our very first title — a space program simulator that would showcase the reality of the physics of space exploration. However, we realized that the game’s tone would be heavily affected if the player were to have every mistake be followed by the death of a digital human being. Therefore, we needed pilots who would help us somehow change the tone of space exploration.

Kerbal Space Program, 03

Physics, astrophysics, trajectories, combustion, gravity, can be really dense concepts to explain, and even more if you’re trying to make a sandbox game about space exploration. We needed somehow to portray the seriousness of the game’s subject, but at the same time give it a more “gamer” friendly tone. It’s important that every mistake in the game feels like an opportunity for the player to learn something new and interesting, instead of a grim portrait of real failure. We needed a lighter, fresher, and more encouraging experience.

Inspiration came from the oddest yet perhaps most fitting background imaginable: two kids playing space program with fireworks in Sao Paulo more than a decade ago. One of them was Felipe Falanghe, our lead designer, who had enough creativity to come up with the idea of strapping little tinfoil men to fireworks, and not enough parental supervision to actually try it. He called the little guys Kerbals, and for all those years he carried both the name and spirit of Kerbals within his heart and mind.

A few years later he found himself working for Squad, which started out as a marketing agency, specializing in interactive technologies development. Every year, the owners of the agency asked their employees to come up with original projects, and if there was a good and viable idea, it could get developed. Felipe was an employee at Squad for some time when one day he couldn’t take the stress of marketing anymore. He tried to quit, but the owners insisted he instead presented a viable video game project idea. Barely believing his luck, Felipe set out to bring the Kerbals and their space program to reality.

Kerbal Space Program, 01

Designing the Kerbals had a simple yet complex directive: embody the spirit of the game. They had to be relentless in their pursuit of scientific achievement and not be dissuaded by mistakes and failures, regardless of how horrific they may be. They had to be capable, yet reckless engineers who would be willing to fly a mission with a low possibility of success, while screaming “Never tell me the odds!” But they also had to be funny in their demise. Kerbals were going to die horrific deaths, so it was important that the design didn’t compound the horribleness of these things, but instead made them easier to swallow.

Big eyes of irregular sizes that aim in different directions show that the Kerbals don’t perceive reality in the same way human beings do, having a different perspective that may simply be incomprehensible to people. A body shape with cartoonish proportions and faces that were both alien yet capable of being filled with human emotions. Add in a color and size that calls back to the old-school ideas of little green men from Space, and you have Kerbals.

With great rockets comes great responsibility. Kerbals are willing to take up the challenge of building a space program from the ground up. They are eager to learn about the Universe, and want to explore all the corners of the Kerbol System, all in the name of Science! There are no mistakes in Kerbal Space Program, only learning incorrect ways to do things. That’s why every launch in the game leads to learning more about rocket science and space exploration. All the while, one is reminded that Kerbals don’t see the world the same way as we do, and can process their inevitable demise with complete, insane excitement as well as abject horror.

Kerbal Space Program, 02

Kerbals are both the face and soul of Kerbal Space Program. An endless supply of expendable yet relatable astronauts willing to expose themselves to the dangers of space travel in the name of scientific progress and glorious success. All the while presenting the player with friendly faces that remind them that failure is fun.

Without the small green characters, we wouldn’t have been able to pull off a space simulator that interested engineers at space agencies across the world and elementary school students alike.

Thus, they will remain a huge part of the success of our game, and a big part of the reasons why Kerbal Space Program is coming to PS4.

Do you have any doubts or questions about how the Kerbals and our game? Drop your questions in the comments below!

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  • release for 2015 or 2016?

  • I’ve heard about this game for awhile but haven’t had a chance to play it. Glad to see it coming to PlayStation :-)

  • This is interesting, I wonder how this will handle on a controller. Will mods or some other way to download other users creations be available like PC? I’d love to pilot some iconic user created space ships.

  • Which physics engine was used for the game? What was it like approaching Sony with your project?

  • This sounds really neat. I see it all the time on Steam, but I never paid it much attention because I almost never play games on my PC. Whether or not this is a game I’ll play on PS4, I’m glad to have learned more about it and am glad that it’s coming to the best place to play.

  • Where are the PS Vita games? :(

  • When is it coming? Q3 2015, Holiday 2015, 2016?

    • It’s always very misleading when we as a Gamer don’t have a release window. So we can know if this is on our radar now or something to put on the back burner to simmer for awhile.

      Please fill us in on a release date thanks.

  • Another awesome game coming to PS4. Nice! Keep it up, Sony! Bring me more games…MORE I SAY!!! :P

  • I’m excited about this! Day one buy!…If I can budget that week. As with all PC to console ports, the controls can be a bit odd to figure out. It may be a bit much, but have you thought of allowing the use of the PlayStation Vita as a touch screen controller? It could mimic a computer screen and mouse.

  • I really liked this game on pc since the steam launch and I’ve seen it evolve in to a great game.

    Will there be any exclusive ps4 content that’ll not be seen in the pc version?

  • Sounds interesting. Look forward to seeing a trailer and then maybe trying it for myself.

  • I played and enjoyed this very early in its Early Access stage when there wasn’t much game there, just a cool rocket toybox. I’ve been meaning to get back to it for ages but now I’ll just wait and buy it Day 1 on PS4. So glad to hear you’re bringing the game to my favorite platform!

  • I’ll definitely be picking this one up. While I can’t say that I’ll be putting as many hours into the PS4 version as I have the PC version (896 hrs on record, according to Steam!), I will be spending some time in the PS4 version for sure. :)

    However…I am a little apprehensive about mod support. Some of the mods for the PC version, if not essential, do significantly improve the experience for some play styles.

    I’m speaking, of course, about MechJeb. (I do recommend that everyone plays through the game to a high level WITHOUT it at least once to gain a thorough understanding and appreciation for what MechJeb will eventually do for you.) Once you start embarking on really big missions involving space-stations, multiple docking manouvers, etc., MechJeb really shines.

    I guess we’ll see?

  • PS Vita version please.

  • I thought this game will never be on consoles, i was wrong.
    I cant wait for this to be released i’ll be building space stations and crashing them or making them fly around the solar system
    “Boards the hype train”

  • I got this off GoG. Great space game.
    I hope mods or ship imports will be allowed since they really extend the value of this game. I’ll buy it again if that happens.

  • Will the Debug menu still exist? I enjoy the game, but when it gets too tough, I like unlimited fuel.

  • Two big questions:

    Q1 -> Will it support mods?! If not, will it come with build-in mods like Kerbal Engineer? It is a must-have mod.

    Q2 -> Will it support Project Morpheus as PC version supports Oculus Rift?

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