A year after its first announcement, colony sim Ascent of Ashes will be ready to release into Early Access on November 15, 2023. Ascent of Ashes is made by a team of former RimWorld modders, the people behind the popular Combat Extended, and takes place on a far-off alien planet after society there collapses in military conflict. Ascent of Ashes will have a demo available before launch as part of Steam Next Fest from October 9-16 2023.
Players will build and defend a base while exploring the wider world, fighting off attacks by your classic post-apocalypse raiders, other survivor factions, remnants of the official military, and alien creatures of a few kinds. Your job, as leader of the settlement, is to balance survivor personalities to make a functional and sustainable colony.
In addition to deep real time with pause combat, Ascent of Ashes promises to have a few other neat features not common in the genre—specifically, AI that knows how to properly fight back and behaves as you’d expect for its type. The real-time control will have an emphasis on stealth, and in world exploration you’ll be able to restore and use abandoned vehicles that you find. It’ll also allow movement over multiple vertical levels.
The developers’ goal is to combine “the deep simulation of classic games like Dwarf Fortress and RimWorld with the tactical challenge of XCOM and Jagged Alliance” with a take on the genre that “that emphasizes exploration, tight balance and strategic gameplay.” It’s a tall order, but the visual design and distinctive-looking combat does promise something different than the norm.
Ascent of Ashes was one of PC Gamer’s survival games to keep an eye on this year, alongside entries like Stalker 2 and Wizard with a Gun.