Starbound was first announced way back in the early days of 2012. That’s… that’s just crazy. Now, more than four years later, developer Chucklefish Games is preparing the game for its Actual, For Serials release, and despite the fact that I’ve yet to take the game for a spin (it’s currently quietly sitting in my Steam library, but it occasionally hits me with a judgemental glare), I find this news very exciting. I feel like it calls for a celebration of sorts. Except I have no sparklers or streamers with me. Isn’t that just depressing?

The game’s been playable via Early Access since December 2013. It quickly gathered an immense following, cruising past one million copies sold in just a month. Chucklefish have been furiously updating the game ever since, keeping Starbound‘s fiercely loyal fan base occupied by new content. With the release of “the big 1.0” update, they’re bringing another substantial list of additions and changes – but they’re also quick to stress that this does not spell the end of development of updates on Starbound.

Version 1.0 will bring with it the game’s complete story mode (along with a bunch of side quests), as well as multiple biomes on planets, fresh dungeons and randomly generated quests. You’ll also be able to gather crew members, who’ll join you on your ship and fulfill various roles. You can read about the many, many features that are being added and tweaked in greater detail by visiting the Starbound development blog, but the most important thing to note is that there’ll be mercenary penguins. Mercenary. Penguins. O_O

There’s no concrete release date for Starbound just yet, but the general notion is “soon”. If you can’t wait any longer, you can grab it on Steam right now for R159.

If you want to see the game in action, here’s the most recent video I could find: