What you need to know
- RimWorld is about to receive its third major expansion since its release, named Biotech.
- Biotech brings reproduction, mechanoids and genetic modification for colonists.
- Update 1.4 will also release and is available now for testing on Steam's unstable branch, players need to opt-in.
The addictive indie colonizing sim RimWorld has just made its 1.4 update live for testing, and alongside this announcement published details on 'Biotech', a new paid expansion coming soon for the game on PC, and most likely the console versions later on.
Biotech will bring reproduction to the base game for the first time, as this has previously only been available via third-party mods. The addition of children also comes with genetic modification abilities and a new colonist — the mechinator.
Children and reproduction
Due to the nature of space colonization, namely illness, violence and death — reproduction has until now been at the hands of third-party mods and not a part of the vanilla experience of RimWorld. The Biotech expansion brings reproduction officially to the RimWorld base game and with it a new layer of immersion. Players who have been asking for this addition to the game for some time will be delighted, however, as most parents know, raising children brings its own challenges.
Colonists will now be able to get pregnant and birth tiny bundles of joy. The arrival of children will raise happiness levels, but require a lot of micromanagement in the form of safe nurseries, regular food and stimulating toys. Children can grow naturally or, for the impatient, sped up to an age where they can be useful with a growth vat. Your budding colonists will need to be taught to hunt, cook, build, fight and sustain relationships.
Like real life, the more time and care spent in raising the child, the higher the chances of gaining capable adults and colonists. Players will be faced with choices at different stages of development, of which traits and passions to encourage in their younglings — though more choices will be offered to colonies who prioritize the education of their offspring than those who use growth vats to breed brain-dead super soldiers.
What would make children even more interesting? The ability to genetically modify them into X-men of course. Along with reproduction, RimWorld Biotech introduces gene modding. Players can now create xenohumans with various useful traits. The options are endless, will you make furry humans who can survive arctic temperatures? Fire-breathing vampires? Or will you build a colony of super-strong terminators? How wild you go is up to you, but to collect all the possible traits you will need to collect them from traders, quest rewards or simply harvest them from prisoners. Genes can be used as they are or combined for questionable results. Let the experimentation begin professor!
Colonists can now be turned into a mechanitor. Previously a fearsome end-game enemy, mechanoids can now be controlled by a colonist with an implant in their brain which allows them the ability to control the machines. Mechanoids can be created for labor or combat by using a high-tech gestation tank, and controlled by a mechanitor colonist. Did the movie I, Robot teach us nothing?
Mechanoids don't get sick, or suffer nervous breakdowns when worked for long hours. You can grow a highly efficient workforce or a fearsome army to protect your colony and destroy your foes. As always there is a downside, creating these awesome machines will pollute your land and left unmanaged poison your people and pets. Handling the wastage will be a challenge in itself.
In a similar process to collecting genetic traits for humans, the technology needed for the best mechanitor capabilities will need to be collected. Ancient mechanoid technology can be harvested from attacking mechanoids, which means you will be welcoming war on your borders to loot the battlefield.
With the release of Biotech, update 1.4 will also drop to RimWorld, but is already available to test now on the Stream unstable branch. The update brings a number of stability and quality of life improvements to the game. There are new customization options for building interiors such as paint, carpets, lighting and storage shelves. New turrets, prisoners and mod manager UI have also been implemented. For a full rundown of the 1.4 update see the changelog here.
To test out the new patch, simply opt-in by right-clicking the game on Steam, selecting properties, and then navigating to the unstable branch option in the Betas tab.
The Biotech expansion looks like an incredible addition to what is an already deeply detailed sim game, we'll update you once we know more about a release date but in the meantime check out our review of the RimWorld Xbox edition here.
RimWorld is an incredibly detailed and addictive space colony simulation game that brings the Wild West to a sci-fi setting. Choose your starting environment and raise colonists in your own tale of war and survival on a desolate planet. Console edition is also available on Xbox.
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Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.
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