Have you ever wanted to compete against your friends in a race to the moon? Maybe you’d rather work together to build a colony on Mars to help push civilization into the great beyond. Either way, Kerbal Space Program 2 may have what you’re looking for sometime after launch.

Space agencies are one of the first new things you’ll notice when you boot up the sequel to the rocketry-focused space-exploration game. They let you design a flag and choose a name for your version of SpaceX, NASA, or the European Space Agency. That agency will serve as the foundation of the game’s multiplayer.

“Agencies are gonna be a significant component of the multiplayer experience,” said Kerbal Space Program 2 creative director Nate Simpson. “So there will be multiple launch complexes and you will be able to, when you have multiple people playing, have multiple agencies. They can either be aligned with one another or potentially competing with one another in space races.”

Kerbal Space Program 2. | Provided by Intercept Games/Private Division

Kerbal Space Program 2 comes to Early Access on February 24, 2022, but many of the exciting features that set it apart from its predecessor won’t be present in the game at launch. Developer Intercept Games has detailed a content roadmap including new concepts, like interstellar space travel and space colonies. Multiplayer is the final item on the roadmap, meaning it could be a long time before it’s finally introduced into the game.

Kerbal Space Program fans have imagined what multiplayer would look like since the game first came out in 2011. Some have put out multiplayer mods, although they don’t provide the ideal experience since the game wasn’t originally designed with multiplayer in mind. That’s one of the primary reasons why Intercept Games is putting out a sequel instead of building upon the existing game.

The upcoming multiplayer mode in Kerbal Space Program 2 will include competitive and cooperative gameplay.

“When you are playing with other people and they’re aligned with you and your space agency, you’ll be able to share technologies, craft rockets, and things like that,” Simpson said. “So that you could, for example, work on different components of the same rocket. I could specialize in landers, my friend could specialize in rovers, and someone else could specialize in stages.”

Simpson said that he doesn’t know how players will use the new multiplayer functionality, as the community has played the game in unique and unexpected ways before. Kerbal Space Program 2 is a complex game with sandbox mechanics, so he believes that much of the multiplayer experience will be asynchronous.

“I’ll sit down for an hour and I’ll work on building up a colony somewhere and then when my friends come check in into this to the same [server], they’ll be exploring and then they’ll see [that I’ve made] a colony over on Duna,” Simpson said. “Maybe they check it out and drop off some resources for me and we can help each other out by flying resource missions to different places and delivering them to the same colony. It’s that sort of thing where we’re all kind of working together to build out a civilization.”

Multiplayer will come after space colonies and interstellar travel updates, meaning you’ll be able to travel to new planetary systems and set up colonies in deep space with your friends. But the game’s systems are still built following realistic technology, meaning you’ll need to iron out the details on how you’ll get there and how you’ll find the necessary resources to support your colony once it’s up and running.

Intercept Games doesn’t plan to include any combat systems, so don’t expect to launch an assault on a rival space agency’s colony when multiplayer first launches. Simpson did mention that they are trying to make Kerbal Space Program 2 accessible to modders right from the get-go, so a bloodbath among the stars could still be on the table once multiplayer functionality has been available for sometime.

“That’s part of what has made the first Kerbal Space Program evergreen,” Simpson said. “It’s just constantly being refreshed with mind blowing mods, including realism oriented mods. I can’t wait to see KSB two get the same treatment.”