The first piece of promotional art for Frostpunk 2, a survival city-builder game announced last week, shows a shirtless man kneeling in the snow, the word “liar” painted in black tar across his chest. This week, Frostpunk 2's developers said that some sort of sketchy situation regarding pre-orders for the game popped on the website Kinguin. Hooray for metaphors!
Frostpunk 2 is 11 Bit Studios’ follow-up to 2018’s Frostpunk, a relentlessly unforgiving city-building sim. Set in an alternate history in which the world freezes over at the end of the 19th century (yes, the Industrial Revolution did its thing real quick in that timeline), the first game tasked you with keeping a small population of survivors alive for as long as possible. It demanded meticulous resource management and tough decision-making, where nearly every choice you made typically came at the expense of something, or someone, else. 11 Bit Studios hasn’t shown anything beyond a cinematic trailer for the sequel, but says that Frostpunk 2 will feature a political bent that wasn’t present in the first game.
As of this writing, there’s a page on Kinguin that purports to offer pre-orders for the game, sold via the retailer g2play.net (five stars! 1.7 million ratings!). It’s currently available for $37.50. But 11 Bit Studios said in a tweet that the listing is from a “SHITTY SCAMMER,” while noting that, “we don’t know the price of our game yet, [and] we don’t have any keys.”
Frostpunk 2 does not currently even have a release date.
Some observers point out that this is a common “gray market” practice, where third-party sellers put up pre-order keys for upcoming games on the market—despite not having keys available at that very moment—and then end up actually fulfilling the request when the game does eventually come up.
Again, the developer itself does not know the price of the game.
“Honestly, we haven’t been thinking about the pricepoint yet, but it doesn’t matter,” 11 Bit’s PR lead Paweł Miechowski told Kotaku via email. “What got me so mad is that they’re selling something they don’t have, they can’t even know if they are going to have it (!) but apparently it became quickly popular thanks to massive interest from our great community. That’s not ethical. They should not monetize on the people like this.”
“We apologize for the inclusion of unconfirmed information that appeared in the listing on Kinguin.net in regard to Frostpunk 2,” Brandon Doerfler, Kinguin’s acting CEO, told Kotaku in a statement. “We have since removed this and made it clear to anyone visiting our site that the game is available for preorder only.”
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Update, 1:30 p.m. ET: Added responses from 11 Bit Studios and Kinguin.