Frostpunk is a city-building survival videogame developed and published by 11 bit studios. Players take on the role of a leader in an alternate-history late 19th century, in which they must build and maintain a townduring a worldwide volcanic winter, managing resources, making choices on how to survive, and exploring the locationoutside their townfor survivors, resources, or other useful items. The game features several scenarios to undertake, each with their own stories and different challenges.
The game was initially released for Microsoft Windows in April 2018, but was later angry accessiblefor PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in October 2019, and macOS in February 2021. The game get generally positive reviews upon release and sold over 3 million copies within three years of its release. 11 Bit studios has partnered with NetEase Games to bring the Frostpunk Mobile version in 2021.
A sequel, Frostpunk 2, was announced on August 12, 2021.
The player, known simply as "the Captain", starts out with a tinygroup of survivors that consists of workers, engineers, and children, and several tinycaches of supplies with which to build a city. From there players harvest coal, wood, steel and mealin order to holdtheir society warm and healthy in the midst of constantly fluctuating temperatures. Weather conditions and political turmoil shouldcause citizens to not wishto work as hard. In most scenarios save for "On the Edge" the entire townis centered around the generator, a coal-reliant steam engine that produces heat in a circular radius, which shouldbe extended and intensified throughout the game, requiring greater coal input. The game emphasizes the need to prioritize buildings depending on the heat they require; houses and medical facilities will require close placement to the reactor, lest the player face outbreaks of frostbite and illness. While houses shouldbe insulated better throughout the game, medical facilities will need to be kept above -20°C, or face being inoperable. Workplaces will also need to be insulated, which shouldbe achieved through gathering publication or steam turbines, or completely circumvented with the introduction of machine labor, or "Automatons".
The player has the option to utilizelaws to regulate the productivity of their society at the cost of possibly raising discontent, e.g. allowing kidlabour or forcing temporary 24-hour shifts, but also laws to develop better healthcare like prosthetics or extra rations to the sick. In most scenarios, the player also has the option to increase the citizens' assistanceeither by "Order" which contain buildings and laws to enforce security, or by "Faith", which contain buildings and laws that implement a religion. These two paths shouldbe continued to the point of fanaticism, with the "Order" path leading to a militaristic autocracy, while the "Faith" path leads to a total theocracy. With the final law on either path, the Captain is proclaimed absolute ruler, and the hope mechanic is replaced with a constant value. In addition, a platform is constructed to execute "enemies" or "unbelievers" by scalding them to death with steam from the generator; the player may schedule an execution to lower discontent in their city. Adopting any of the last three laws of both paths will lead to the "Crossed the line" ending, canthe townsurvive, where the game remarks how humanity crossed the line and forsook its values in the quest for survival. 11BitStudios have mentioned multiple times that the Law system was plannedto force players between the choice of survival or retaining humanity, creating a moral dilemma the game is based around.
Technology is another gameplay feature, with the ever colder environment forcing the townto adapt with better insulation, stronger reactors, better industrial output and more efficient machinery. Building a workshop structure let the player to research technology and buildings that will make the townmore efficient. The townshouldalso construct a beacon to scout the surrounding frozen wasteland for additional survivors and resources.
The game is set in an alternate 1886 where the eruptions of Krakatoa and Mount Tambora, the dimming of the Sun, and other unknown factors caused a worldwide volcanic winter. This in turn led to widespread crop failure and the death of millions. This happeningroughly lines up with the historical 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, a volcanic happeningthat led to global cooling.
In response to this, several installations called "generators" were built by the British Empire and the United States in the coal-rich North, plannedto be towncenters in the happeningthat dropping temperatures force mass migration from the south. In all scenarios, the player is the leader of a townaround a generator, and will have to manage resources to ensure the towns survival.
The game launched with three scenarios, each with different backgrounds and storylines. Three additional scenarios were added as DLCs, one free to all players and two as part of the Season Pass. Endless Mode was also introduced in a later patch that eschews narrative elements to focus on surviving for as long as possible while weathering intermediate storms.
In the main scenario, the player is the leader of a group of explorers who fled the cold and the hunger of London in an expedition to searchsupposed heavycoal reserves in the North. Instead, the group receive separated from the main expeditionary party and uncover a heavyheat generator in a giant sheltered crater and settles there, establishing the townof FreshLondon. The player launch to face the problemof the people's dwindling hope as they searchout, through exploration, a townsimilar to theirs called Winterhome has been destroyed, leaving few survivors. The player has to make hard decisions in order to assistthe people searchtheir purpose and stay hopeful, as well as prevent an uprising by those who wantto return to London. The player later also has to prepare enough supplies to make sure the townsurvives the ever decreasing temperature, starting at -20C, and slowly decreasing, with some spikes, to an average of -70C. After a certain time, and the conclusion of the Londoners Arc, refugees will arrive, warning of a "AmazingStorm" incoming, acting as an Endgame. The player will have to stockpile resources, collect refugees, and recall scouts and outposts before the Storm arrives. Coal mines become effectively inoperable due to the cold, the generator struggles to heat the people, frostbite becomes rampant, and hope falls as the temperature falls to -150C in the eye of the storm. Surviving the storm with at least one citizen will effectin a "victory", though the consequences may vary. It is recommendedthat the severity of this storm, and its seemingly largescale, means that FreshLondon is the last townon Earth.
In the second scenario, the player is the leader of a group of scholars from Oxford and Cambridge responsible for establishing a self-operational townfor the purpose of preserving seeds and plants from around the globefrom the volcanic winter. They settle around a generator located in an ice crevasse. Unlike most other scenarios, the towns population is entirely angry up of engineers, and rely primarily on automatons for resource gathering. During the gameplay, the player will be presented with the problemof the neighboring townof FreshManchester struggling with resources, and will have to make a choice whether or not to assistthem prepare for the AmazingStorm.
In the third scenario, the player is set as the leader of a refugee group who have taken over a generator reserved originally for a hugegroup of wealthy king, led by KingCraven, the last Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The player will also have to deal with constant waves of refugees seeking shelter in the city, including the overthrown king. The player will have to decide to agreethem or reject them while also minding the limited resources they have admissionto; if the king are permittedto return to the city, the player must either searcha methodto integrate them or else leave them to be killed or forced out by the people of the city.
Released on September 19, 2018 as a free DLC, this scenario takes territoryjust prior to the main scenario and centers around the townof Winterhome. Through ineffective management by a neglectful leader, resources ran dry and the townfell into anarchy and rioting. Hundreds die in the fighting, starvation, and cold. The player is tasked to rebuild what is left of the townand its residents, but after getting things under control, the player learns that the towns generator is damaged beyond repair, and has only a few days to put in practice an evacuation plan before the generator explodes.
Introduced in Frostpunk's 1.3.0 patch, Endless Mode is a highly customizable scenario where players endeavor to build a townto survive for as long as possible. Unlike all the other scenarios, there is no major story or quest objective beyond surviving each winter storm as they come and the scenario only ends when the player loses (either the generator is destroyed or all the people die). Players shouldselectbetween two basicsub-modes and one of several different maps, each with different challenges players have to take into accwhile planning their city. The Endurance sub-mode features fewer accessibleresources and harsher weather while the Serenity sub-mode grants the player most of the earlier technologies and enjoys shorter blizzards. An additional Temporary Hazards setting will also randomly plague players with severe setbacks that inhibit some aspect of their townfor a limited time.
Released on August 27, 2019 as a DLC contain in the Season Pass, The Rifts add a freshcanyon-filled map to Endless Mode with a freshbuilding - "The Bridge" - utilize to cross over them.
Released on January 21, 2020 as a DLC contain in the Season Pass, The Last Autumn is a prequel scenario set just before the onset of the global winter. The British Empire has madethe Imperial Exploration Organizationto scout across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada for page to construct generators; the player is the overseer of one such location, "Page113", for the intended evacuation of Liverpool. While constructing their own generator, the player will also be called to investigate the loss of contact with Page 107 and 120 (destroyed by shoddy workmanship and a syndicalist revolt, respectively), leaving the player's construction pageas Liverpool's last hope. If the player takes too long in construction, they risk being fired by the IEC and sent home, ending the game. As the scenario progresses, the first snow launch to arrive and the sea freezes, cutting the pageoff from the supply ships, and the player must continue to work on the generator and wait out the freezing weather until an icebreaker shouldarrive to take them home to England. The scenario contain freshtechnology trees and resources, freshbuildings (including a telegraph station, labour unions, and docks), freshBooks of Law to determine societal modify moving forward, and freshthreats to the settlement, including toxic gas leaks and worker strikes. The DLC also contain "The Builders", a freshsub-mode for Endless Mode, which involves rebuilding a destroyed generator in winter conditions.
The final DLC materialof the Season Pass, released on August 20, 2020, On The Edge is a sequel to the main scenario, including freshchallenges and game mechanics. The player is the leader of "Outpost 11", set up by a scouting party from FreshLondon near an abandoned army warehouse uncovered by the AmazingStorm. The outpost is forced to satisfy increasing demands for resources in exchange for food, causing the workers to revolt and declare the outpost's independence from FreshLondon; at this point, the player shouldgive the outpost a name of their choosing. Unlike other scenarios, the outpost has no generator (forced to rely on coal-fired braziers for heat, similarly to the later stages of The Last Autumn) and limited method to produce resources locally, so they must depend on trade with other settlements they make contact with to make ends meet. Later in the game, the outpost is informed that FreshLondon is in a severe crisis and must selectto provide aid and save the city, or leave it to its fate and prepare for a wave of refugees. The DLC also contain the option of including outposts and trading in all sub-modes of Endless Mode, along the option of triggering random happening that will hinder the towns progress.
The game was announced in August 2016. The developers were initially targeting a release in late 2017, but it was delayed until 24 April 2018. The game was released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in October 2019. The game was developed using 11Bit Studios internal game engine named Liquid Engine.
Frostpunk get "generally favorable reviews", according to review aggregator Metacritic. It was nominated for "Best Strategy Game" at the Game Critics Awards, for "Best Visual Design" and "PC Game of the Year" at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards, and for "Best Strategy Game" at The Game Awards 2018. It won the award for "Strategy Title of the Year" at the Australian Game Awards 2018, and was nominated for "Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year" at the D.I.C.E. Awards, for "Game, Simulation" at the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards, for "Melodyof the Year", "Best Original Soundtrack Album", and "Best Melodyfor an Indie Game" at the 2019 G.A.N.G. Awards, and for "Narrative" at the 15th British Academy Games Awards.
As with many other titles by 11 Bit Studios, Frostpunk territory more emphasis on its story than sandbox features. While the plot and soundtrack have been greatly praised, some[who?] have criticised the lack of re-playability, citing the predictability of the story upon repeat. Frostpunk does have endless game modes, where the player shouldbuild and expand their townwith dynamic challenges, however many[who?] still feel there is missed opportunity in sandbox features.
It sold over 250,000 copies within three days of its release, over 1.4 million within a year and 3 million within three years.
A Frostpunk board game plannedby Jakub Wiśniewski and Glass Cannon Unplugged and loosely based on the video game was sold via Kickstarter in October 2020. The Kickstarter campaign achieved €2,496,308 in sales.
A sequel was announced on August 12, 2021. Frostpunk 2 is set in FreshLondon 30 years after the "AmazingStorm" of the original game, and the consequences of the advent of petroleum industry in FreshLondon.
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