|Developer(s)||11 bit studios|
|Publisher(s)||11 bit studios|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
Frostpunk is a city-building survival game developed and published by 11 bit studios. It was released for Microsoft Windows in April 2018, and was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in October 2019. The game received generally positive reviews upon release and sold over 1.4 million copies within a year of its release.
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 event roughly lines up with the historical 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, a volcanic event that led to global cooling.
In response to this, several installations called "generators" were built by the British authorities in the coal-rich North, designed to be city centers  in the event that dropping temperatures force mass migration from the south. In all scenarios, the player is the leader of a city around a generator, and will have to manage resources to ensure the city's survival.
There are currently three scenarios in the base game and an additional scenario offered in a free DLC, each with different backgrounds and storylines. An 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.
A New Home
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 find supposed massive coal reserves in the North. Instead, the group gets separated from the main expeditionary party and discovers a massive heat generator in a giant sheltered crater and settles there. The player begins to face the issue of the people's dwindling hope as they find out, through exploration, a city similar to theirs called Winterhome has been destroyed, leaving few survivors. The player has to make hard decisions in order to help the people find their purpose and stay hopeful. The player later also has to prepare enough supplies to make sure the city survives an impending storm.
In the second scenario, the player is tasked as the leader of a group of scholars from Oxford and Cambridge responsible for establishing a self-operational city for the purpose of preserving seeds and plants from around the world from the volcanic winter. They settle around a generator located in an ice crevasse. During the gameplay, the player will be presented with the issue of a neighboring city struggling with resources, and will have to make a choice whether or not to help them prepare for the incoming storm.
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 large group of wealthy lords. The people had intended the city to be a place where everyone is equal, but in time the people will begin to divide into two separate social classes. The player will also have to deal with constant waves of refugees seeking shelter in the city, including the overthrown lords. The player will have to decide to accept them or reject them while also minding the limited resources they have access to.
The Fall of Winterhome
Released on September 19, 2018 as free DLC, this scenario revolves around the story of Winterhome, a city established well before the events of the main scenario. Through ineffective management by a neglectful leader, resources ran dry and the city fell into anarchy and rioting. Hundreds die in the fighting, starvation, and cold. The player is tasked to rebuild what is left of the city and its residents, but after getting things under control, the player learns that the city's generator is damaged beyond repair, and has only a few days to put in practice an evacuation plan.
Introduced in Frostpunk's 1.3.0 patch, Endless Mode is a highly customizable scenario where players endeavor to build a city to 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. Players can choose between two primary sub-modes and one of several different maps, each with different challenges players have to take into account while planning their city. The Endurance sub-mode features fewer available resources 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 city for a limited time.
The player character starts out with a small group of survivors that consists of workers, engineers, and children, and several small caches of supplies with which to build a city. From there players harvest coal, wood, steel and food in order to keep their society warm and healthy in the midst of constantly fluctuating temperatures. Weather conditions and political turmoil can cause citizens to not want to work as hard. The player has the option to use laws to regulate the productivity of their society at the cost of possibly raising discontent, e.g. allowing child labour 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 support either by "Order" which includes buildings and laws to enforce security, or by "Faith", which includes buildings and laws that implement a religion. Building a workshop structure allows the player to research technology and buildings that will make the city more efficient and to scout the surrounding frozen wasteland for additional survivors and resources.
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.
Frostpunk received "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 "Music of the Year", "Best Original Soundtrack Album", and "Best Music for an Indie Game" at the 2019 G.A.N.G. Awards, and for "Narrative" at the 15th British Academy Games Awards.
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