Hey everyone, my name is Michael Tsarouhas. I am the lead game designer on Insurgency: Sandstorm. Today’s Community Update is about our new free content roadmap for 2019, which you can see above. While we have other things we hope to accomplish as well during this time frame, we wanted to take some time to share some of the highlights which we are confident we can deliver. We’ll go into detail section by section below. First though, it’s important to note that the order in which this content will come is still TBD. Some stuff will come a little at a time across multiple updates (new weapons and cosmetics) and others later on pending how well they do in playtesting (Frontline and Outpost game modes). It’s possible that some content may need to get pushed back, but we want you to know that these are our goals, and regardless of when these things come we can assure you that all of it is confirmed and in the pipeline. Furthermore, it is free to all players who own the game on PC.
Please bear in mind also that this is only our current plan for PC content for 2019, not Xbox One or PS4. However, we can say we intend to put at least some of this content on consoles as well. Whether or not we can put content such as a level editor, specific game modes, and modding tools on consoles is as of now uncertain, but other content such as weapons and maps are more likely. It’s all something we are going to seriously look into, but we aren’t comfortable committing to at this time. Remember also that this is all just 2019 too. There will be more free content coming in 2020. So without further ado, let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Level Editor & Mod Tools
Modding is in our blood. As many of you know, Insurgency originally started as a mod for Half-Life 2 that was released back in 2007. Modding was a huge part of the standalone Insurgency released in 2014 as well, its Steam Workshop now sitting at over 18,000 mods. This includes everything from unique weapon model replacements to custom maps to UI overhauls to character skins and more. We couldn’t be happier with the way the community took control of the game and made their own out of it, and we believe this is the right mindset to have as a developer when it comes to making video games. Why wouldn’t we want to empower you to create just like we were empowered by Half-Life 2 to create the original Insurgency mod?
That same treatment is coming to Insurgency: Sandstorm as well. This includes but is not limited to community created levels, game modes, rulesets, gameplay modifications, factions, weapons, and weapon upgrades. We want to provide plenty of support to for players to make their own content, and honestly, we want to play that content ourselves too. The scope and timing of this kind of mod support is still to be determined, but we are committed to those seven things above, as well as the ability to share mods on either the Steam Workshop or a similar service.
2 New Maps: Snow Map & TBA Map
A lot of players have said we should be doing more as far as our level environments go. They’ve said they wanted to see more diverse maps that aren’t just rural desert towns. We took that feedback seriously. First we created Outskirts, a map that takes place in a construction site, shantytown, and compound in greener pastures. Then we created Ministry, a map that takes place almost entirely indoors. And for the next map, we’re gonna turn things up. Or down, if you consider the temperature (sorry had to do it.)
Those of you who are perceptive may have noticed that this snow level is actually a remake of Sinjar from both the original mod and Insurgency 2014. You can see the perspective from the Security’s spawn, and that brutal hill that so many security team members have lost their lives on. We’re bringing it all back, but this time with improvements, and also with snow. Characters will breathe cold puffs of air as they run and fight, and they’ll leave snowprints which can be tracked by other players. This Sinjar remake will have a new name to fit the new setting, and it will be our next official map. We have another map slated for later this year which will also be changing things up, but more on that at a later date.
Night Versions of Maps
We’ve also heard your feedback on night time maps. A lot of players have expressed the desire to play all the maps we already have (and any upcoming maps) at night. We’ll be doing a night time version of every map we have, with custom lighting as well as special night time equipment. This includes flashlights, night vision goggles, and infrared laser sights. Enemy AI in Co-op will also see adjustments to their various behaviors. If you thought our combat was intense before, wait until the night comes. The low visibility and new equipment mean players need to move more cautiously, equip the right gear, and approach the entire level differently than they would have if the sun were up. Places that were good cover in the day are suddenly more exposed at night, and places that were exposed suddenly become good cover.
New Weapons & Upgrades
We get tons of weapon requests of all kinds of weapons. While we can’t meet every one, we certainly have a lot of exciting options to choose from. Survey data indicated that over 60% of players wanted to see new modern weapons. We can confirm that among other guns we’re currently working on a Tavor 7, an Israeli 7.62x51mm bullpup, for Security, as well as an AS Val, a special caliber integrally suppressed rifle, for Insurgents. These two in particular aren’t going to be added together and will come in separate updates, so we’ll leave it up to your imagination to guess each one’s counterpart for the opposite faction.
Our second post-release community survey was really enlightening as far as weapon upgrades and attachments go. When we asked about new features, 59% of you said you were most excited by optics which can be toggled between multiple levels of magnification. The runner up was a distant 21% for full body awareness where you can see your legs and lower body from the 1P perspective. We can confirm 2019 will see toggleable optics, and many of the optics already in game will be converted to be toggleable. This includes putting down the magnifier for your 2x Kobra when you need to use it in 1x form, or using the back up iron sights on top of your 4x SU230. We’ll be cooking up some entirely new toggleable optics as well.
When asked what kind of upgrades you’d like to see most, 42% said new optics, followed by 22% for new underbarrel attachments. All three of the other options, Barrel, Magazine, and Siderail, were tied at roughly 12%. As said above we’ll be adding new toggleable optics, and in addition to that, normal single magnification optics. This includes optics for pistols, for those of you who want to get all high speed with your Secondary.
We’re also doing various different foregrip types which will affect weapon handling in more ways than just recoil reduction. We’re considering foregrips that allow you to draw your Primary faster (much like the Quick Draw Holster for your Secondary), reduce sway, reduce time to Aim Down Sights, reduce free-aim radius so your weapon stays closer to the center of the screen while not aiming down sights, or even allow you to use Focus with Shift while you are still moving and aiming down sights. All these ideas are pending testing, but the goal is to give players options beyond just making recoil more manageable. We want options that play into some of the unique mechanics of our game, and for players to make meaningful choices as they manage their Supply Points. And hey, if a foregrip isn’t your thing, how about a mini-shotgun? Cause that will be there too. In addition to new Underbarrel attachments, we have some new Magazine upgrades planned: mag pulls for faster reloading and custom magazines that will increase reloading even faster if you’re willing to spend the Supply. For Siderail, we’ll be doing new flashlights and an IR laser sight to coincide with night maps.
Hardcore Ruleset for All Modes
This is a pretty exciting one, and it’s going to come sooner than many of the other things on our roadmap. The response to update 1.2’s new Hardcore Checkpoint game mode has been awesome. We got a lot of good feedback, made some tweaks, and feel like it’s in a great place. We noticed players appreciated above all else the overall change in pace to combat. The slower movement really does turn your normal tactical doctrine on its head, and forces you to play very differently. And despite such a radical change, not only did the game still feel like Insurgency, but it also enhanced some aspects of Insurgency. A lot of people asked if we would ever do a Hardcore version of PvP game modes, and that’s just what we’re gonna do.
“Hardcore” will become a predefined ruleset which can be applied to any game mode. It will be available for any community servers who want to enable it. What that exact ruleset will look like is still being worked out, since we don’t necessarily know if respawning with a bolt-action in a mode like Skirmish will go over well. However, we’re considering a few options, and above all else you can expect the movement to be close to if not identical to the current movement speed in Hardcore Checkpoint. And yes, you will be able to play Hardcore Frenzy. Expect to need to change up your tactics for that one.
As a bit of an experiment, we’re going to include a Hardcore playlist in the Play menu, similar to how we do with the Arcade and Team Deathmatch. This will allow players to play Hardcore through normal matchmaking. First we want to first try Hardcore Push, and depending on how that is received, will tweak the ruleset as needed and potentially try other modes as well.
PvP Frontline & Co-op Outpost Game Modes
We polled about game modes in our first survey a while back, and saw there was a lot of interest in these two modes. The top three were a tug-of-war style PvP mode based on Frontline from our previous game Day of Infamy (23.2%), a single life PvP VIP escort mode based on Ambush from Insurgency 2014 (22.7%), and a horde inspired mode with multiple defense points based on Outpost also from Insurgency 2014 (17%). Realistically for 2019 though, we could only commit to two, and it made sense to balance things between one Co-op and one PvP. Outpost will be a great change up for our Co-op, as it puts players on the defensive rather than the offensive that they’re used to in Checkpoint. It will also be playable with both Frenzy and the Hardcore ruleset.
In order to better make the decision on which PvP mode to do for 2019, we did yet another survey where among the things mentioned in the other sections of this post, we asked players point blank if they wanted Frontline or Ambush more. Results were close, with 48.23% voting for Ambush and 51.77% voting for Frontline. With this kind of decision, we understand some players will be disappointed, and we know that Ambush definitely has an important following. However we need to be realistic with how we set our goals and plan our post-release content. Frontline is, after all, also quite similar to Push, which is our most popular PvP mode in both Insurgency 2014 and Insurgency: Sandstorm. It makes sense to try to build something for that majority of players to enjoy. Ambush would also require more production for things such as custom character artwork for the VIP that really sticks out from our eclectic and highly customizable faction characters. All that being said, we are still committed to Ambush, but it won’t be coming until next year. So for you Ambush fans and other voters out there, please bear with us, and know that other great free content is planned for 2020 as well.
New Character Customization
Another thing we polled about in our second survey was cosmetic items, and which categories you wanted to see more items for the most. For the Security team, 28.82% of players wanted to see Headgear, followed by a close second of 28.69% for Torso items. Following that was new Camouflage at a dead even 22%. We have all three of these things in store for 2019. Security players can look forward to new soft shell jackets which can be customized with a camouflage pattern, with half-camo, or without a pattern entirely if you want to opt instead for one of the flat uncamouflaged green or tan color variations available for the Security. We’ll also be doing headphones and headsets both alone and combined with some existing Headgear, in a similar fashion to how we do the High Cut helmet types. This is a cosmetic request that we saw popping up constantly on Reddit, the forums, and social media, and we can understand why. As far as customization goes, and what the survey data supports, the head is one of the most prominent and recognizable parts of our characters and one of the best ways to express character in general. Also, it looks damn cool with the new Security Facewear we added in update 1.2.
For Insurgents, Facewear took the lead at 35.75% of votes, with 32.72% for Torso items following it. The rest of the item categories were spread out among the other options, all of which were less than 8%. We’ll be prioritizing new Headgear and Torso items for Insurgents, and have already got some slick leather jackets, athletic snow jackets (perfect for skiing the slopes of the Sinjar remake), and more in the works. For Facewear, well let’s just say that while the Insurgents might not dress to fight in the most practical way or even have the best taste, they certainly know how to look menacing.
Everything you see above is currently planned for 2019 for free across multiple updates. We have other stuff planned too this year, but haven’t felt ready to commit to those things yet. While it is possible some stuff might get pushed back if it needs more time in the oven, and some other things may also be added outside this scope, these are our goals we wanted to share with you all. We are committing all our development resources to reaching them. Ambush mode and other free content like this will be coming in 2020. If you have any other suggestions for new content, feedback on recent changes, or bug reports to share with us, please let us know on the forums, Reddit, social media, or wherever. We want to hear it, and we want to integrate it into our planning. Thanks very much for reading everyone, and stay tuned here and on our social media for more community updates.