Grand strategy game Stellaris doesn’t currently have a release date, but it better get one soon because I’m not sure how much more waiting we can take. From what we know about the game, it’s the only MMO that matters coming out in 2016. No offense, western release of Blade and Soul.
In case you missed its initial announcement in August, Stellaris is a strategy game from the makers of Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis with a space exploration core. It’s up to the players to explore enormous, procedurally generated galaxies containing thousands of planets and unique, random species inhabiting these planets all while navigating the complexities of space diplomacy and getting immersed in emergent storytelling.
Etching your name across the cosmos by discovering celestial outposts and entire civilizations is certainly appealing, especially if we all agree not to commit a galactic genocide within the first 15 minutes of gameplay, but the game’s multiplayer is what should make Stellaris a home run.
Players will be able to form Galactic Federations with other species, giving control of all political decisions to a rotating leader and sharing a victory if you can achieve it. Like Paradox’s previous games, Stellaris isn’t turn-based. Instead, days tick away at a game speed only the host can adjust. How quickly players make decisions and their ability to micro will be the real measures of the player’s success. Game Director Henrik Fåhraeus told PC Gamer that they worked hard to reduce the amount of things you need to micromanage, like direct control over units in combat for example, so it won’t end up feeling like StarCraft, but it will reward skilled players for outthinking their opponents quickly.
What’s truly exciting is that the game’s scale, interface and emergent storytelling features makes it seem like the potential for full scale wars to be waged against rival Federations all dictated by player choices extremely plausible. Paradox has made Stellaris’s multiplayer a priority and that’s exciting because eventually the galaxy will be divided and it will be in the player’s hands to decide its fate.
If thinking about full scale galactic war breaking out after you’ve chosen a side and colonized most of a procedurally generated galaxy doesn’t give you chills, then we feel sorry for you. Otherwise, we’re going into cryostasis until Stellaris comes out in 2016.