"There are of course some surprises still in store, but it’s good to know that the overall direction of the game won’t disappoint."

Hello, everyone! Community Manager Lia here. It’s been a truly exciting few weeks, and in the wake of the maelstrom of NextFest and the launch of the Beyond These Stars demo, I present to you: some reflections and experiences from our initial demo launch, and some direct responses to community feedback.

Despite working remotely, two entire time zones away from the office, I’ve always been lucky to feel like one of the team. But flying to Dunedin (or Ōtepoti, the name by which it was first known) to work in the office as we weathered the Steam NextFest storm was something else.

Past the expanses of green pasture that led us from the local airport, rolling into Ōtepoti/Dunedin felt almost like an immersive Beyond These Stars experience. There was something about the way the sun’s discriminatory light sneaked through the city’s hills, how it scattered across the early morning fog, that was strangely reminiscent of Kewa’s atmosphere. (But maybe I was just feeling the hype?)

I was filled with thoughts of the uncanny parallels between this small city and the ones we’ve been building atop Kewa’s back; but these are thoughts I’ll save for a later day. 

Corporate wants you to find the difference between these pictures.

Steam NextFest, though. Once we’d gone live with the demo, we felt the classic gamut of things a developer can experience after a launch. The soaring highs of people playing the game, and enjoying it! The desolate troughs of realising your game has shipped with a crash that is affecting people who are streaming it live!! (this was thankfully patched out after a few days of round-the-clock work; game dev crisis mode demands sacrifices most will never understand)

All in all, though, it was a very good week. We were pleasantly surprised by not just the positivity in much of the feedback we’d received, but this feeling that people actually understood the project and what we are trying to achieve. Sorting through the community’s feature requests and lore speculation, we saw a fair bit of overlap with what’s already planned for the game’s full release. There are of course some surprises still in store, but it’s good to know that the overall direction of the game won’t disappoint. Or at least, that is what we hope!

Some of our top secret road maps.

Having all nine of us together in one room also meant ample opportunity for some meetings (the fun kind) and collaboration. Nina (QA) and I worked closely to analyse player feedback and reports. Mereana (game designer) and Emily (narrative designer) spent a couple of solid afternoons gathered around the couch, mapping out everything from some of the game’s new systems, to major plotlines, and [REDACTED]. Sam (creative director) emerged several times from his programming cave. And so on, and so forth.

This actually happened.

If you're curious to hear some more detailed insight from the team, check out the video of last week’s stream, where all nine of us gathered around to discuss our post-NextFest feelings and the way forward:

Beyond These Stars: approaching Early Access

Oh, you wanted to know more about the game?

Since you’ve read this far, I’ll leave you with a preview of some things we’re implementing in our Early Access release which directly address some of the community feedback we’ve received since demo release.

The below list is not exhaustive, but for now I can at least mention the following features, which will be soon to come:



We didn’t give you a way to deal with pollution in the demo, but rest assured that we will! As in Before We Leave, pollution is addressed with the use of specialised buildings which scrub away all those gunked up tiles.

Compost and a use for wood waste

We heard you on this one, and don’t worry: a more fleshed-out composting system is in the works. One of the new buildings we’ll be introducing will produce a byproduct that can be used to help with composting efforts. Can you guess what it might be?

UI & QoL

Changing keybindings

Some of you asked about this, and we can confirm that this is a feature we already have planned!

Detailed peep happiness

We heard requests for the ability to see what is making a peep unhappy, similar to what we had in Before We Leave. We can confirm that this feature will be implemented for Early Access.

Paused buildings

Some players found themselves wanting an easier way to determine at a glance which buildings were paused. We’ve added a pause icon to sit on top of these buildings, but further to that, we also have plans to give players finer control over which infopins are displayed, which should help with the information overload. 

Game devs, do not try this at home

Want to know more?

We know what you’re thinking: when are we releasing the Early Access game? The answer is, of course, “Soon™” - but we do have an internal date earmarked, and it is within this year. You’ll just have to stay tuned - either by subscribing to our newsletter, joining our Discord, or following us on social media. (We are everywhere. You cannot escape.)

The best place for frequent development updates would be our Discord, for sure - but we also stream fortnightly on Twitch!

Here is our schedule for the next month:

That's twitch.tv/balancingmonkeygames, folks!

That's all for now. See you around!

- Lia 💖