Kenshi (video game)

Kenshi is a role-playing video game developed and published by Lo-Fi Games for Windows. The game focuses on providing sandbox gameplay features that give the player freedom to do what they want in its world instead of focusing on a linear story. Kenshi's development was primarily led by a single person over the course of twelve years, and was released on December 6, 2018.

Kenshi logo.png
Developer(s)Lo-Fi Games
Publisher(s)Lo-Fi Games
Designer(s)Chris Hunt
ReleaseDecember 6, 2018
Genre(s)Role-playing game

Kenshi takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting and allows characters to be a thief, a trader, or a myriad of other options. The game has received mostly positive reviews from critics, who have commented on its depth, its MMO-style gameplay, and its difficulty.


Kenshi has a damage system where players and enemies can lose limbs after battles and have to permanently deal with the consequences

Kenshi is an open world role-playing video game with real-time strategy elements that has no linear narrative.[1] It takes place in a post-apocalyptic fantasy setting, where it is incredibly difficult for life to survive.[1] The player starts out with no skills and struggles to survive in the early stages of the game.[1] Skills are leveled up through doing actions, such as leveling up thievery by stealing items, and the player can recruit other units to grow their squad.[2] The player can recruit characters from numerous different factions and species to join their squad in bars, and can eventually build a town or a city themselves.[2] As part of the damage system, limbs can be severed or damaged individually as well.[3]


Kenshi was primarily developed by a single person, Chris Hunt, who began development around 2006–2008.[3][4][5][6] Hunt worked as a part-time security guard in order to make ends meet for the first few years of the game's development.[5] After five or so years of working his security job, Hunt was able to leave his part-time job and work on the game full-time after finding initial success with the game.[5][6] He worked by himself on the project until 2013, when he was able to hire a small team that works with him on the project.[6] Hunt has described the world as "sword-punk", and was specifically inspired by stories of wandering rōnin and the idea of a survivor travelling a wasteland.[6]

Hunt has described his impetus for creating the game as his dislike of the "hand-holding" that other RPGs have when starting out.[6] On his general mantra for designing the game, Hunt stated that he considered himself as the player's enemy.[3] The game's playable area is 870 square kilometres (340 sq mi), which was done to place dangerous and challenging areas in between rewards that players might seek out.[3][7] Hunt wanted different areas of the map to have different themes or factions that would make them feel unique, such as one that treats female characters differently than males.[5]

The game was first released in early access in 2013, and was fully released on December 6, 2018.[4][8]


Aggregate score
Review score
PC Gamer (US)84/100[1]
Rock, Paper, ShotgunRPS Bestest Bests[2]

Kenshi received "generally favorable reviews", according to review aggregator Metacritic.[9] PC Gamer's Robert Zak praised giant size and scope, but noted that the game could get "grindy" and that the game's UI "can get cumbersome as your group's numbers grow."[1] Rock, Paper, Shotgun noted the game's depth and compared Kenshi positively to Dwarf Fortress.[2] In March 2019, a sequel built on a different game engine, Kenshi 2, was announced.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e Zak, Robert (January 8, 2019). "Kenshi review". PC Gamer. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Meer, Alec (December 11, 2018). "Wot I Think: Kenshi". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Wiltshire, Alex (December 19, 2018). "How Kenshi's world is designed not to care about you". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Tarason, Dominic. "Kenshi ends its long march out of early access on December 6th". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Price, Edward (June 5, 2018). "Kenshi – Rezzed 2018 Interview". Game Analytics. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e Priestman, Chris (August 30, 2015). "Kenshi's Eight Year Development Journey From One-Man RPG To A Team's Success". Siliconera. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Griffin, Ben. "Kenshi Reckons Size Matters". Kotaku. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  8. ^ Boudreau, Ian. "Kenshi gets a release date after 12 years of development". PCGamesN. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Kenshi Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  10. ^ Brown, Fraser. "Kenshi 2 is already in development". PC Gamer. Retrieved 18 September 2019.