Hello Reddit! I'm Chris Hunt, founder of small indie dev Lo-Fi Games creators of sandbox RPG Kenshi.

Proof: https://twitter.com/lofigames/status/1159478856564318208

I spent the first 6 years working alone while doing 2 days a week as a security guard before Alpha-funding the game and building a small team and creating Lo-Fi Games, last December we released our first game, Kenshi.

The game: https://store.steampowered.com/app/233860/Kenshi/The subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Kenshi/

Also here is my sister Nat (user: koomatzu). She is the writer and did 99% of the game's dialogue.


Kenshi 2 is still in early stages, bare in mind any answers I give about it are not yet guaranteed or set in stone. Don't use these quotes to shoot me down 5 years from now.

EDIT: Ok I gotta go home and eat. I will revisit here tomorrow morning though (9th august) and answer a few more questions. Thanks all for the great reception!

Comments: 1290 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

Shidan174712 karma

A moderator here for r/Kenshi, asking questions for those among the community who couldn't make it. :)

u/alfredo0634 asked: Is kenshi 2 supposed to be way before the 1st? What can we expect to see? As in world state, cars, giant robots, bigger cities, Etc

u/Aglorius3 asked: I saw that Kenshi may get moved to the newer engine. Is that true and is there an ETA? Will the new game have landscape and object LOD?

u/nectos asked: Will you allow modding to go further than FCS and let us do insane mods like Skyrim, Fallout 4?

Captain_Deathbeard703 karma

Yes, its something like 1000 years before the first game. The content is secret.

We are working on a new (secret) engine for Kenshi 2, and hoping to be able to port Kenshi 1 as well. The Kenshi 1 port is a lot of extra work though.

It depends on the engine moddability. Because most of the game code is in C++ it can't be modded, but that's the only way we can get a seamless world with 800 characters running around at a time.

RoasteeMcToastie28 karma

My main concern was feeling like I hadn't done enough in the game before buying Kenshi 2, say like a game where you can import/export characters, would this be possible? I know there's a lot that would need to be removed, but could you port characters in?

Captain_Deathbeard45 karma

I'll probably add an import option, but it would reset all your stats and gear

Captain_Deathbeard55 karma

And you'd loose your robot limbs too. Hee hee

VAShumpmaker611 karma


Captain_Deathbeard926 karma

Just for that, double beak things in Kenshi 2

VAShumpmaker174 karma

Ok ok. But is it twice as many beak things or double-beak things?

Because I'm OK with it either way, but I fear for Beep...

Captain_Deathbeard151 karma

Twice as many double-beak things

SpookySkeleton53390 karma

Was it surprising to you how popular the game got?

Captain_Deathbeard675 karma

I don't know. I expected it really, cus I knew the game would be great, so failure would be technically impossible. But I think the recent popularity explosion since release and a couple big youtubers was a bit surprising.

n7Angel292 karma

Kenshi is an awesome game, but after a while there's a breaking point where base defence gets a bit monotonous, you only get patrolls of infantrymen trying to bring down a gate covered by a lot of turrets. Are there plans for introducing different types of defenses like traps or siege weapons to spice up that aspect?

Captain_Deathbeard289 karma

It's a plan, but as usual, not guaranteed.

But it would be good to have something tactically forcing you to leave the base.

HaTsUnE_NeKo260 karma

As we know from some others

this question does get asked a few times

Is Kenshi a moon, or a planet?

and who revolves around who

Captain_Deathbeard319 karma

Well, as it's you...

It's a tidal-locked moon

FSNorthStar201 karma

What made you choose the ogre engine when you started making the game?

Captain_Deathbeard454 karma

It is the year 2000. UE4 and Unity don't exist yet. Quake III is the best engine around, and probably costs 1 million dollars to use. It's a choice between Torque3D and Ogre. I went with some other engine that began with "C" I think. It died. I switched to Ogre: Open source, raw C++ and as future-proof as you can get. That we managed to stretch it to 2018 is proof of that, even if it doesn't run that good no more.

TrueChaoSxTcS183 karma

Discord mod Fen here, just gonna copy over my question from there since it didn't make it to the curated list xP

Will there be a stronger focus on making sure the world works on a logistical level? i.e. all factions having a visible and discoverable chain of supplies, showing how they feed their people, supply their armies, and so on (within a realistic frame, similar to how we as players have to grow food, and mine and process ore)

Captain_Deathbeard191 karma

Probably not, I see the benefits but it's an enormous amount of work for a relatively small payoff. Possibly could manage some sort of hybrid semi-dynamic system

tfwnoshekfu99 karma

I think a lot of the complexity can be removed if you abstract it from a topdown approach, you don't have to simulate every little thing but have a simplified system that trickles down the details to the loaded area and be affected by it in broad strokes, almost like how world states function.

Captain_Deathbeard133 karma

Yeah that's true, it's the sort of thing I meant, not a bad idea actually the more I think about it

Frightlever159 karma

Will Kenshi 2 have a job manager, akin to Dwarf Therapist or the one built into Rimworld? It'd be nice to mass toggle eg "Jobs" on and off. Similarly it'd be nice to assign "roles" to party members with pre-defined weapon/armor (like DF uniforms) and even minimum food and medical kit levels that they could pickup from storage when free to do so. Getting your guys ready for an expedition only for them to dump their food and medkits is annoying. (I know you can toggle ditch - I want GRANULAR control.)

Also, I love this game so much.

Captain_Deathbeard134 karma

Can't say for sure at this point, but I won't rule out taking a look at possible improvements

tfwnoshekfu135 karma

Do you have plans to expand the FCS's options beyond the scope of what you need for implementation in either Kenshi 2 or even 1? You've made some additions and think you asked what more could be added on steam but it still lacks little things that modders have wanted for a long time - TAKING items away during dialogue, arbitrary world states to trigger through dialogue alone, spawning NPCs on the spot, and so on. It would help a lot to even expand existing functions to other items - like full skill bonuses for all types of equipment, some conditional checks, even those animation overrides could be added to equipment or triggered through dialogue or attached to an AI package.

And thank you for the amazing game.

Captain_Deathbeard126 karma

We will add a few things. I just pasted your post into my notes txt file for future reference.

Frightlever119 karma

Kenshi was inspired by stories of traveling ronin, according to Wikipedia. Can you give us a few specific examples of books and stories that acted as an inspiration?

Captain_Deathbeard225 karma

7 Samurai, kung-fu films, Mad-max.

I love the Malazan books, the sheer depth of history and world-building is astounding.

Dark-souls for the way it embeds history, lore and a sense of wonder into the world using barely any words.

Frightlever42 karma

I've been seeing a lot about Malazan recently (possible Baader-Meinhof phenomenon). Kinda hesitant to get into another mega fantasy series, but I see this one is actually finished, bar spin-offs.

Thanks for the replies by the way. I'm an old man, legit, but I feel giddy reading these replies. Could be my blood pressure.

lnjury23 karma

Tried reading Malazan two times. This time I quit in book 9. There are some great books in there, but the casts changes so much it's hard to come to like, know or even remember the who the hell everyone is in the later books.
With the very limited reading time I have in my life now, Malazan just isn't worth it.

Captain_Deathbeard33 karma

Yeah, I started 15 years ago...

ProjectHamster99 karma

Were you expecting the game to spawn such a huge modding community?

Also can we expect more hairstyles/faces for character creation in Kenshi 2? Or possibly more races?

Captain_Deathbeard181 karma

Yes. It will look a lot better, we have a new character artist who worked before for Ubisoft. We also have the famed concept artist Callum Alexander Watt, who has worked on Star Wars.

Rustledstardust97 karma

I'd just like to applaud both Chris and Nat (and the other writers in the background) for their work on the style and substance of the world.

The world you've made in Kenshi is enticing and vibrant. You give enough information to base off of and allow the player to fill in the blanks with their own preferred head canon.

I cannot wait to find out Kenshi 2 and any future projects you do, within or outside of the Kenshi world.


Can I ask if you have considered branching off the current world Kenshi is set on perhaps after Kenshi 2 or will you stick with the same world? Was Kenshi 2 being set 1000 years in the past your first choice or did you consider other possibilities too?

Captain_Deathbeard81 karma

Thanks! I have a whole bunch of games planned, it's a big timeline to work with...

johncawks90 karma

What was the inspiration for Beep?

Captain_Deathbeard180 karma

It started just as an idea for an NPC that would be really easy to write, because most of his dialog events could just be "beep". Then for some reason he just started to come to life in my head and I just kept coming up with more ideas.

I wrote most of his stuff in one day, quietly chuckling to myself the whole time.

Thatonebolt87 karma

First, thank you so much for bringing Kenshi into this world.

To both Chris and Nat: Is there an area or bit of lore that you are exceptionally proud of?

Captain_Deathbeard129 karma

I'm proud of the Skeletons. I also like all the places that torment the player, especially the Fog Islands

Segef71 karma

With the talk of Kenshi 2, will it be the exact same land mass but before the empire fall or will there be more areas to explore?

Captain_Deathbeard113 karma

It's the same land mass, but changed, and also hopefully expanded by 50%

Segef34 karma

I'm taking it as you are referring to lower ocean levels?

And there is this interesting mod i saw once about implementing a cave system. Have you thought about using a negative floor system like the positive floor system for buildings?

Captain_Deathbeard75 karma

Going under the terrain has a lot of technical issues, mainly with the camera. You'll see what I mean if you go in any of the Dome buildings in the Ashlands.

Lou-butavoiceactor68 karma

  1. Our assumption of this game currently is that it will be like the last days before the collapse of the (Roman) empire, as opposed to a century or millenia later in its fallout. How will the advanced technology of the past affect weapons and combat in the new Kenshi? More ranged combat focus? Power armour? Whatever This thing is?
  2. The main factions in Kenshi 1 are famed for their lack of holding the moral high ground. You intended for players to be the Robin Hoods, but a highly requested feature was for players to be more like Fallout New Vegas' Caesar's Legion and do the same things. Will players have more control over whether to be lawful evil?
  3. Player cities? Please?

(No more questions from me after this)

Captain_Deathbeard87 karma

  1. Ranged weapons will likely be more dominant than in Kenshi 1, technology level is generally a little higher
  2. I'll think about it
  3. I'd prefer to spend the time focusing on other features, being a Mayor is a whole rabbit hole of features and bugs to go down.

juicelee77756 karma

Dude, I've followed this game since like 2012. I'm so happy for all your success. I guess I need to ask a question. Here so forgive me if it's already been asked but with kenshi how long do you plan to support it with updates when the second comes out? Also has anyone major approached you about bolstering your resources in exchange for more control over your ip?

Captain_Deathbeard100 karma

If kenshi 1 gets the new engine too, then it will keep getting support fixes, as they will be sharing the same code base.

Lots of random dudes have tried to get in on my business before now. Even back in the early days when I was broke, but I always turned all of them down. It's my game, my IP.

Though I would consider selling movie rights or something like that...

Yogroxx48 karma

Have you seen Sseth's video about kenshi? Cause I bought the game thanks to him and I'd really like to know what you thought about it

Captain_Deathbeard63 karma

I loved it, watched it twice

shotgunbill47 karma

Where do Hivers come from?

Captain_Deathbeard83 karma

From the Queen's dispenser unit

salthesalute43 karma

  1. Is there any consideration to add more survival aspects to Kenshi 2- specifically along the lines of heat and water? It seemed semi unrealistic that we can wander through the scorching desert surviving off of bone dry sandwiches :)

  2. Secondly, will the stage of Kenshi 2 being set 1000 years before the current game take away from the derelict and ruined aesthetic of the game that we all love?

  3. I'm sure you get this a lot, but will the next version of the engine/Kenshi 2 allow for more extensive modding? Modding will turn these games truly immortal in my opinion, think TES and Fallout.

Love the game by the way, quite possibly my faveourite of all time. Huge thanks for taking the time to make this.

And Nat, I actually really love the dialogue in this game. Incredibly fitting and well written.

EDIT: One more thing; do both of you play Kenshi at all in your free time? If so, what playstyle/race is your faveourite?

Captain_Deathbeard100 karma

  1. I tried to make the hunger system as un-obtrusive as possible. When you have a lot of characters you have to avoid micro-management. That's why they eat automatically, and infrequently (but at great cost), to allow you to forget about it as much as possible. Adding more aspects means more micro-management. I could add water, but how would it be different to the hunger? (The idea is that water is abstracted within the hunger system). I could add heat/cold, but do you really want to carry around spare clothes and have to dress 30 characters everytime the weather changes?
  2. If anything, it will increase
  3. Unknown at this point
  4. Yes, I have played kenshi quite a bit. I like playing with smaller squads and a mix of races. I like Hives because they are like playing Hard-mode. The only downside is that I know where everything is, so I can't explore or be surprised by things.

RedderBarron38 karma

First off. I dig Kenshi, I love it to bits. It's actually quickly becoming my latest comfort game. It's honestly one of the best games I've played in a damn long time.

Anyway, it seems the issue has problems with loading new areas (such as characters going into no-clip as a new area is loading) is there any work being done to rectify this problem? And will it persist into Kenshi 2?

Captain_Deathbeard132 karma

The new engine will change things up. Past problems will be irrelevant, we will have new different problems instead.

drruler49 karma

Past problems will be irrelevant, we will have new different problems instead.

This is the most painfully real developer response ever. Thanks for the chuckle.

Captain_Deathbeard57 karma

I am experienced. Everything starts off as "this new system will fix all our problems"

SethOfGrace30 karma

Was Beep the 1% of the writing that Nat didn't do?

Koomatzu45 karma

Basically, yeah. I'm not sore about it at all.

Captain_Deathbeard50 karma

I also wrote the crab tournament, but that didn't seem to take off.

Strangieu29 karma

Will Kenshi 2 be more advanced?

Kenshi's all fine and all, but the world isn't "alive" so to speak. There's no dynamic economy, no global politics no dynamic population, just a buncha npc's in their sand castles. Plus what the player can actually do, is very limited. Your faction doesn't matter, you can't set up a thriving city, own a TRUE faction of your own, take over other cities, open trade routes. So again, will Kenshi 2 expand on all or at least some of that, or will it be rather similar to the old one?

Captain_Deathbeard79 karma

The more dynamic a game gets, the more unstable it becomes. The game world is already pretty unstable, like when hordes of spiders wipe out towns. Dynamic economies are a nightmare to balance.

Imagine playing for a few in-game weeks and finding out that United Cities now own every town. Cool at first, then exploration becomes boring, maybe you never got a chance to visit any of the other factions.

Mount & Blade for example apparently had an artificial limit in place to stop any faction from being defeated or taking over the world, if one started winning/losing too much then the tide of the war would change.

It's also a matter of the game focus. I never intended the game to be a city manager, it's supposed to be about your squad and their adventures, having a safe fortress to retreat to but not being a mayor.

That said, I DO want to take a look at making faction warfare more dynamic in the next game.

lagonborn36 karma

As far as the town management hardon a lot of people come with into Kenshi, it seems to be in vogue. The playerbase of Kenshi seems to overlap a lot with those of Dwarf Fortress, Rimworld, and even Factorio, and those games' main focus is on base building, so it's not really surprising a lot of people see "yet another town manager" while getting into it.

That said, Kenshi is a superb wandering squad rpg as it is, despite it's faults and occasional instability, and maybe the best anarcho-communist simulator ever made (I really dig that vibe). From that perspective, it seems to me like bases were intended to be just that, not towns or trade hubs, but a refueling station and a way to go "off the grid" for your group. If either of you see this, would you say that's accurate?

Captain_Deathbeard27 karma

You nailed it

praisedahsun26 karma

Hey bud! Big fan of Kenshi, I bought it and played it religiously for around a year back when it launched in preview on steam.

However I now move around a lot for work and cant afford to lug a big gaming pc or anything like that around but I do lug an xbox around, any chance for kenshi to come out on consoles? Or any plans for the second to release on consoles?

Captain_Deathbeard40 karma

The main problem is getting it to work on controllers. While I do love controllers, I just can't come up with a viable control system for them without changing the game significantly.

Frightlever21 karma

d it's an inspiration to me. I'm currently working with a friend on a few projects using Amazon's lumberyard and, man, it's overwhelming. I'm a Software engineer by trade, but anything gaming related in my experience is a recent result of studying in my free time. I'm trudging through, but I realized quickly my initial effort estimations were wildly inaccurate. What was your motivation? How did you prevent Kenshi from getting lost to the daily grind? Do you have any advice for someone with similar ambitions?

Sorry to interrupt, but... I love Kenshi but can you imagine it going through Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo's quality control?

Captain_Deathbeard30 karma

I agree, it would never make it

Wetnmm23 karma

Will Kenshi 2 reveal more details about the Hive's origin? This is one of the things which I think we know least about regarding lore, so I'd love to know.

Captain_Deathbeard39 karma

There will be more revealed about the lore and past history, including the hives

Shidan17421 karma

Couple more questions from members of the Kenshi community who couldn't make it. :)

Asked by @BluBOo on Discord and u/NinjaGregory on r/Kenshi: "Will there be a terrain/height map editor for custom maps and/or map changes?"

Asked by @papaya on Discord: "Are there any things that you wanted to implement in K1 that you didn't have time for/the ability to implement that you are now carrying forward into K2?"

Captain_Deathbeard25 karma

  1. Unsure at this point
  2. That's what making Kenshi 2 is all about

Greggerino_16 karma

How many new gameplay mechanics are you planning on adding into Kenshi 2?

Captain_Deathbeard52 karma

There will be one big huge feature that will change things up a lot. Not sure when to announce it. Not sure why I'm not announcing it yet either.

Tabisama15 karma

IMO The best and the worst thing about Kenshi is that you can steal without restrictions because it’s so damn fun but kinda spoils the game. Will you do something about it in Kenshi2 or leave it as is?

Captain_Deathbeard38 karma

Stealing in games unbalance the gameplay by nature, that's what makes it so fun. It's fun because you feel like you are cheating and playing the game the wrong way, it's fun because you sometimes get caught, and sometimes strike it rich.

Artificial restrictions won't work, it would have to be balanced more by difficulty and repercussions. But then that can be bypassed by save-scumming. One technique I used to balance this was permanent item tagging, like the STOLEN (so you can't sell so easily) and UNIFORM (so factions can attack you) statuses. Not sure what else I could do here, other than adding Ironman mode to prevent save-scumming.

Preacher_Generic14 karma

Hi Chris! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this, and even more for bringing us a truly unique gaming experience! I've got a couple of questions from the /r/Kenshi community to ask you:

  • /u/spacefiddle asked: What are the plans regarding modding for the sequel, in general? I am especially interested in getting at sounds.

  • /u/Agent_53 asked: Will there be new continents with their own lore/factions to explore or will it be the same continent as in the first Kenshi?

  • /u/Tooneyman asked: Will you be updating the engine to the latest 64bit version of ogre and will you be upating Kenshi 1 to it as well?

Captain_Deathbeard21 karma

  1. The audio system uses Wwise, which unfortunately packs everything up so they can't be modded. It might be possible to add overrides in the new engine
  2. Both
  3. The game has been 64-bit for years. All that does is un-cap the RAM limit of 4gb

Intrexa12 karma

I had a very close friend named Chris Hunt growing up, and we did casual game dev together growing up. We grew apart during college, and I lost contact. Are you him?

Captain_Deathbeard20 karma

No, I couldn't figure out how to make games until I was about 18. I could program, but how the hell to display graphics? Nothing would tell me.

RWxBosch12 karma

If asked, would you work with a publisher to put out your next game?

Captain_Deathbeard54 karma


AquaIsNOTUseless11 karma

Big fan of kenshi, been playing since alpha.

How much of the world and lore was planed since the alpha release? Was it all planed, including the different biomes, or was it originally a big desert?

Also can we get top hats in kenshi 2?

Captain_Deathbeard25 karma

It all evolved over the course of development. This time we are taking a longer view, planning ahead to future games, to the point that we are writing and concepting the original civilization before the apocalypse

saltshaker4211 karma

Would you ever consider making a comic based on Kenshi to expand the lore and give us a feel for how the world interacts with itself?

Captain_Deathbeard18 karma

I'd love to, but don't really feel like I have time

CamelSpyder8 karma

Who was the Whistler? Will she make an appearance in Kenshi 2 or is she scrapped forever?

Captain_Deathbeard20 karma

The whistler model was included by accident and I never noticed, it's not canon

MEplusYOURMOM8 karma

Any plans for an aging system with stat decay? It’d be real cool if we could start as a young person and play until we are old and frail, passing the faction reigns to the next in line. Dying of old age, slower movements, weaker bodies would all be welcomed. Also graves.

Can we get prosthetics that are basic? Something the HN would tolerate.

Captain_Deathbeard28 karma

My rule is never to take things from the player that they have earned. (aside from deaths of course, but they should feel like the player's failure)

I remember playing EV Nova, I worked hard and built up a good spaceship, then did a story mission that just straight up replaced my ship with a lame "story" ship. I was outraged. That's when I made that rule.

GeeZeR_FroG7 karma

Hi Chris, I am going to ask what I ask every AMA.

What is your favorite flavor of milk shake?

Captain_Deathbeard20 karma

Chocolate, the one true flavour

music21773 karma

How much progress did you make in the first 6 years? Aside from the end where you were able to secure funding to build a team, what was a high and a low of your time working solo?

Captain_Deathbeard4 karma

It was a fun game by then: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cXcuZV77UJY

jmbarnes19872 karma

I haven't played Kenshi in a couple years, but that's true of games in general; kids, work, life, etc.

However, I love the project and it's an inspiration to me. I'm currently working with a friend on a few projects using Amazon's lumberyard and, man, it's overwhelming. I'm a Software engineer by trade, but anything gaming related in my experience is a recent result of studying in my free time. I'm trudging through, but I realized quickly my initial effort estimations were wildly inaccurate. What was your motivation? How did you prevent Kenshi from getting lost to the daily grind? Do you have any advice for someone with similar ambitions?

Captain_Deathbeard9 karma

I have no idea. I just put all my time into it. It won't work in your spare time, because doing your regular job all day will burn you out before you start. It has to be first, not second. That's why I got a security guard job, I could just do 2 12-hour shifts sleeping and watching anime, and spend the other 5 days working. I was broke as hell, but I had nobody to support, and being broke is kinda fun if you are doing it by choice and live somewhere with free healthcare.

Otherwise I guess aim simpler? You can still make a good game in 2D, and it will be simpler and faster. Kenshi could have been just as good in 2D.

scalpingsnake2 karma

  1. What is your priority with the next Kenshi game; what is the one thing you really want to include in the game?
  2. I, and I am sure many others too, are full of ideas for Kenshi, where is the best place for us to relay our ideas to you?

Captain_Deathbeard4 karma

  1. The big feature, the big amazing secret one. There were lots of small features I missed. I wanted animals to poo everywhere. And mate in the wild. And people's hair to grow (might get that in the sequel)
  2. I have so many features that will never make it already. The thing that is useful, is detailed, specific, reasoned feedback based on your play experience. Thing you were lacking or felt out of balance, and why.

Qikdraw1 karma

Chris, just want to say I love Kenshi and I've been following it for a long long time, I bought copies for nephews and friends as well, who all love it.

What is your strategy when you start a game? Do you sit in a town and build up tech and characters, then go find a spot for your base? Or do you do more exploring at the beginning? Or something completely different?

Captain_Deathbeard11 karma

I usually trade and wander and get into scrapes, I think that's the most fun way to play. I frown upon mining as an income source. In the future I might make it harder, like rival miners or town guards demanding you have a mining licence or something.

Sano_Victus1 karma

What kind of games do you play in your free time? Any that serve as inspiration for Kenshi ideas, or just for having fun?

Captain_Deathbeard2 karma

Not inspiration, but a lifetime of playing games is my education as a game designer. I like open world single player games. At the moment I'm playing starsector. I'm a fan of Empyrion, space engineers, rimworld, factorio