Oceans Are Now Battlefields In Besiege’s First Ever Expansion

Don’t forget your life jacket.

screenshot from Besiege The Splintered Sea expansion
Spiderling Studios

You know what’s harder than building a catapult? Building a catapult that floats. At least, I assume so. I’ve never tried it, but we’re all about to get the chance to. The announcement of The Splintered Sea, an upcoming expansion for indie build-’em-up Besiege has me excited to take to the high seas with all sorts of improbable creations, even if the prospect of sinking means I’ll probably have an even more disastrous time than I did with the original game.

The fact that Besiege is getting an expansion at all is worth noticing. The game first launched in Steam Early Access in 2015, becoming an early hit of the fledgling program. From that point, it took five years to reach its full PC launch, and another two to land on consoles. While it’s garnered plenty of fans throughout the near decade it’s been around, Besiege has never gotten an expansion before The Splintered Sea.

The Splintered Sea looks just as chaotically beautiful as the original Besiege.

If you somehow missed the entirety of Besiege’s 10-year lifespan, it’s still easy to get caught up. Besiege is a game about building machines and using them to wreck things. That’s it. Its existing campaign is a story-free sandbox of creation and destruction, each level simply presenting you with an army floating in an empty void. Your goal is to build a siege weapon that can defeat your opponent out of a collection of 70 different block types.

Now, Besiege is taking the fight to the ocean. The Splintered Sea adds eight new block types and 10 aquatic levels, according to developer Spiderling Studios. A big part of Besiege’s appeal is its physics simulation, which makes everything from simple battering rams to walking wooden mechs viable as long as they’re engineered correctly. A press release for the expansion touts new additions to the physics engine like “shape-dependent drag” and “density-based buoyancy,” which I’m sure is very exciting for anyone who knows what that means.

What even I understand is that The Splintered Sea looks fantastic in motion. As it did for the Besiege launch, Spiderling Studios released a video showing some of the creations possible in The Splintered Sea doing battle in glorious slow motion. This time around, it’s cannonballs tearing ships to splinters and submarines nimbly stalking their prey underwater, all set to a majestic classical score. If the trailer is anything to go by, videos of the wild creations players come up with in The Splintered Sea will be just as good for background viewing while you’re working as footage of the original game is now.

A whole new physics challenge awaits in The Splintered Sea.

Spiderling Studios

Besiege has always had an odd sense of humor. It might be hard to understand how a physics engine can be funny if you’ve never played the game, but there’s just something inherently hilarious about strapping a buzzsaw to a walking windmill and letting it go to town, or pouring time into a combat machine perfectly suited to meet a particular challenge and watching it all fall apart because you forgot a crucial joint somewhere along the way. The Splintered Sea seems to be leaning into that strength, with the trailer featuring a flying machine lifting a confused giant squid out of the water and a bomber plane taking out a series of boats before clipping one of their masts and nosediving into the water alongside them.

If anything, the possibility of your creations sinking to their watery grave means The Splintered Sea will probably be even more slapstick than Besiege is now. I was, frankly, pretty bad at Besiege. When I won, it was just as often because one of my machines broke in a way that happened that crush their attackers at the same time as it was because I built some mechanical marvel that actually survived the fight. I fully expect The Splintered Sea to crush me as well, but Besiege has a way of making even failure feel fun.

What I’m looking forward to most is seeing what people with far more aptitude with the game’s deadly Legos than I have are able to pull off. If the original game gave us masterpieces like giant worm robots and fighter jets, I can only imagine what their aquatic equivalents will be. Even if you share my lack of engineering ability, The Splintered Sea’s May 24 release date is still worth keeping in mind for the flood of absurd mechanical marvels that more skilled players will inevitably sharing soon after.

The Splintered Sea expansion for Besiege will be available on Steam on May 24.

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