Forever Skies, developer Far From Home's intriguing game of airships and survival above a post-apocalyptic Earth, has been delayed into next year following a flurry of feedback in response to its popular Steam Next Fest demo in October.
According to Far From Home, over 80,000 people played the Forever Skies demo, resulting in a "wave of positive and constructive feedback" the studio wants to implement before launching into Early Access - something it was initially planning to do before the end of this year.
"On the surface everything seemed great," Far From Home says of its recent feedback. "83% of respondents rated the demo as 8/10 or above. But when we looked deeper, we started seeing things that a lot of players said they missed."
"We’re now looking at a much larger influx of players picking up the game during Early Access than originally predicted," the studio continued. "So we want to lay down better foundations for more of our core mechanics so everyone can get a much clearer idea of what else to expect from the future of Forever Skies."
For starters, the dangerous world beneath the "dust" - that is, below the toxic cloud layer players ordinarily float above in their airships - will now be implemented ready for Early Access launch.
"This is still deep in development so the initial plan was to add this as one of the first major updates in Early Access," Far From Home explains. "But the feedback and questions about what happens under the dust has shown us that we really should have some fundamentals of under the dust in place right from the start."
This, in turn, means it wants to implement certain risk/reward systems relating to the world beneath the dust in time for launch, as well as new mechanics, blueprints, and viruses.
Elsewhere, the studio says it's eager to add more variety and incentive to explore its existing derelict towers and above-dust locations ahead of launch, with additional locations planned as development continues.
Players can also expect to see the fundamentals of Forever Skies' airship damage and repair system (which was missing from the demo), as well as additional airship customisation features, ranging from improved building to modules, tools, and accessories. "Your airship is your home and sanctuary in Forever Skies," Far From Home explains, "so we want players to feel like they can really make each feel like their own custom creation."
Finally, it says it wants to highlight its "scientific approach to survival" more clearly at launch, where players will need to research cures and remedies for the viruses they can contract during play, and can alter viruses to boost their abilities.
All this means Forever Skies will now launch into Early Access in the "first half" of 2023, giving the developer time to implement a "much better foundation which will allow us and our community to shape the next phases of the game right from the start." A specific release date will be shared at a later date.
You'll find a few more details, as well as word on an updated Steam demo - featuring player-requested quality of life improvements and an extended open-world exploration timer - in Far From Home's post on Steam.