PDXCON is kicking off this weekend and we’ve gotten plenty of news already about what Paradox Interactive has planned for the future in terms of new games and expansion content for existing titles. All the big names are here and represented, and the fans are all really excited for the next year, myself included. Fans of giant battle bots got a new Heavy Metal expansion for BattleTech. And then the WWII enthusiasts got the La Resistance expansion for Hearts of Iron IV. There’s even a new sequel, Crusader Kings 3, on the way.
But this post isn’t about any of those games, not at all, we’re here to talk about one of the best space-based 4X games of this generation, Stellaris. In Stellaris, you create a science fiction race at the point where they first reach for the stars in the year 2200. From the founding of your galactic empire, you build up your economic and industrial might fuel more expansion, true to the conventions of the genre. From there, you’ll encounter a bunch of different AI-controlled (or player-controlled in multiplayer) races that all have their own origin stories and aims. Some might be peaceful explorers who really love science, others might be robots determined to preserve all natural life; there’s even the possibility for murderous swarms of insectoids that draw their inspiration from classic races like the Tyranid.
The game has an incredibly detailed race generation system that allows nearly every aspect of a race to be unique, right down to genetics. This can make for both an excellent immersion aid and a great storytelling device if you’re into roleplaying four galactic conquerors. The game also has a thriving modding scene which has pushed the original mechanics far beyond the scope that was originally intended, as seems to be the case for any Paradox title.
New Game of Politics
The game has received regular patches and content updates since its release, even getting a console port. Now, it looks like Paradox wants to build on the origins of those races we create in the new Federations expansion. The goal here is simple, two flesh out two different systems within Stellaris. The diplomacy system, though already pretty robust and offering plenty of opportunities for warfare, is up first. The existing system of forming federations is little more than a fancy military alliance, and is admittedly pretty shallow.
This new expansion will beef up that system with a few new mechanics at making the power politics at the galactic level a little more immersive. Federations will now allow these alliances to be more specialized by forming into organizations like Trade League, Martial Alliance, or Hegemony. Each of these offers their own bonuses, as well as their own diplomatic character. A Trade League will be a lot less inclined to military invasions compared to a Hegemony, for example.
And when you’re creating that race vying for victory, Federations will also allow for a few new Origin Civics to be chosen. These are alterations to your basic race based on their history, so some empires might be more or less effective at warfare or colonizing certain planets, based on their Origin Civic.
There’s even a new Lithoids species pack coming as a minor addon. These sapient minerals (they’re not rocks Marie!) are a new addition to the roster of possible species choices. This roster includes avian, reptilian, human, fungoid and so many other generic choices. And of course, you can customize them all.
The Federations expansion will be released later this year and you can wishlist it now via Steam. As for the Lithoids Species Pack, you don’t have to wait too long since it’ll be available on October 24. It’s priced at $7.99 and you can also find it via its own store page. And just like with other games in the Paradox library, the paid DLC will include specific content that expands upon the core new Federation mechanics, which will be added in a free update as a stripped down version of the idea.