Paradox’s Space Strategy Game Stellaris Has Won Gamescom

Paradox’s internal development studio, responsible for Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Victoria and Hearts of Iron, is deep into development on a space strategy game. We’ve already seen it, and picked the brains of CK II maestro and project lead Henrik Fåhraeus and EU IV designer Tomas Johansson about this giant leap for the studio. The project, which the company announced at their Gamescom fan gathering moments ago, goes by the name Stellaris and it’s shaping up to be one of the most exciting games in recent years.

Below, you’ll find everything we know, including how randomised alien species will ensure that each new galaxy is mysterious, and why the commitment to an intelligent and subversive end-game could make this one of the smartest interpretations of 4X strategy ever made.

The finest summary of Stellaris’ aims came mid-way through the half hour presentation and discussion in which Fåhraeus and Johansson unveiled the game. “We’re not creating one specific universe. It can be any sci-fi universe.” Johannson was referring to the way in which the procedural galaxies are more than a collection of planets and stars. By the late game you might find that one of your science ships has become the Event Horizon, ripping a hole in reality to a dimension of horrors. Before you know it, you’re scrabbling to militarise in order to survive a fight against invaders from beyond and you’ve accidentally fallen into Warhammer 40K.

Or maybe you train the world’s greatest scientist-adventurers, create the most advanced ships in the universe, and set up silent listening posts on the moons orbiting planets that are home to pre-spacefaring species. You can learn from them, guide them and eventually become their patrons. You are a Banksian Culture.

Perhaps you’ll direct your energies toward the founding of a galactic federation and create an alliance of species working together toward a greater good. You can even identify named characters within that galaxy and find your Kirk and Spock. That same federation might become something else entirely if its utopian vision involves the use of robotic workers, allowing the sentient population to live in luxury, philosophising and creating art rather toiling in factories and fields. Eventually, the push for greater and greater AI makes a Cylonesque uprising a distinct possibility.

The important word is ‘possibility’. In Stellaris, many things are possible but few things are hardcoded into the story of a new galaxy. Your actions and reactions to the mysteries and wonders that you encounter will help to determine the fate of your species and the others that you share the galaxy with, and even as you work toward your own goals, one of the other interstellar empires is likely to be meddling with technologies that threaten the balance of power and the equilibrium of reality.

It’s not only the large, game-changing events that can happen that set a new galaxy apart. They can contain up to a thousand systems but it’s what exists on those planets and between those stars that makes each playthrough unique. Every alien species that you encounter will be unique to your game, concoted from a long list of physical traits and social behaviours. You might discover a civilisation of aggressive, xenophobic moluscoids or an isolationist avian race who breed quickly and travel through the warp, spreading rapidly and unpredictably from planet to planet.

Each race will be represented by one of around a hundred animated portraits, ranging from humanoid faces to tentacled maws. They’re beautifully illustrated and the entire game is the most attractive Paradox grand strategy title to date by some distance. Rotating the map, it’s possible to create striking images of systems, fleets and alien void-dwellers, and I was surprised to learn that this is yet another appearance of the Klauswitz engine, which drives the current generation of Paradox strategy.

Although they’ll have distinct behaviours, every race starts in a similar position. They’re all on the cusp of their first faster-than-light journeys into the unknown and, in a departure from previous Paradox grand strategy games, the start points are not asymmetrical. There is no equivalent of the Holy Roman Empire, already a major player in the galaxy and difficult to control or overthrow. Everyone, whether human player (the game supports as many as a new map can comfortably contain) or AI, begins with a home planet and the itchiest of feet (or psuedopods). In the early stages, as is traditional in the genre, you’ll concentrate on exploration and colonisation.

As with every other part of the game, traditions are swiftly abandoned. Planetary management involves shifting civilians from one tile to another to gather the resources needed. Buildings enjoy adjacency bonuses if placed next to similar structures. So far, so familiar. The introduction of blocker tiles complicates matters slightly. An otherwise desirable piece of land might contain dangerous wildlife that must be cleared out and a random event might cause that wildlife to spread across the planet. Or a giant sinkhole might open up, requiring specific tech to seal it so that the land can be reclaimed. Worse still, interfering with that sinkhole might interrupt a subtarranean race, leading to an invasion from the depths.

Further still, an unhappy population, or one simply reacting to the changing state of play, might push for a change in government or splinter into factions. A common theme expressed of the presentation was the desire to make every part of the game interesting.

“The problem with so many strategy games is that in the end-game, you become bored. You can look at the situation and know that you’ve already won and you have to wait for the confirmation of that.” Fåhraeus reckons Stellaris will counter that by shifting its focus dramatically in the mid- and end-game. While the early stages are concerned with exploration and colonisation, the mid-game is concerned with imperial governance and diplomacy. “At this point, when every system is under somebody’s control and borders are touching, it becomes a more EU IV type experience.”

That’s when you may be able to form or become part of a galactic federation. You’ll also be dealing with trade, alliances, federations and border control, but federations offer grander possibilities. They are led by a president, elected from the member civilisations at regular intervals, and that player (or AI) has control of all foreign policy and of the federation fleet. When you design the ships for that fleet you have access to all the modules from every race in the federation, allowing for combinations unavailable elsewhere. Whether you choose to build a peacekeeping force, an ambassadorial outreach program or a terrifying overpowered fleet of battleships is entirely your choice, but it’s wise to keep in mind that you may lose the next election and cede control of your creations to another leader.

Ships are customisable but the creation tools aren’t a central feature. Individual ships can be seen on the map though and, in another first for Paradox, every unit can be seen during combat. There’s no direct control of the tactical situation but you’ll be able to see how your designs and combinations perform, and the debris left behind after combat can be scanned and analysed by science ships.

Science is another example of Paradox tearing up the 4X script and science ships are one facet of the design. They behave like a hero unit, physically existing within the game world and conducting missions. That might involve visiting planets that sensors have detected but know little of, or exploring blackholes and other anomalies. New discoveries have a difficulty rating and if the scientist fails to understand, the secrets are lost forever. There are greater risks, however – a catastrophic failure might send an asteroid plummeting out of orbit and toward an inhabited planet, or destroy the ship, killing the scientist on board. You might even lose a scientist only to find that he is still alive but stricken with wanderlust or that he has lost his mind while confronting some terrible mystery. Brilliantly, a scientist who has attempted to understand the unfathomable may gain traits that reflect his exposure to horrors beyond comprehension. Those same traits might make his life miserable but they could also be the key to unlocking some of the more esoteric and dangerous technologies available in the game.

Those technologies are not contained within a tree. The system is similar to a deck of cards, with three departments – physics, social and engineering – each with a character placed in charge of discoveries in that sphere. When a piece of research has been completed, three cards will be presented to choose between. The techs offered are semi-random but their availability is heavily weighted by the ethics of your empire, as well as the skills and traits of the scientist in charge of the department. As with the alien races and the process of discovering the wonders of the universe, research is mysterious and is directed by the character of your empire, and the personality and skills of specific characters.

Conquest works as in other Paradox strategy games. Rather than winning a battle and taking the spoils, you’ll need to negotiate peace agreements that cede control of colonies. The way that fleets move around the map is wholly different, however. There are three forms of faster-than-light travel and each species chooses one at the beginning of the game. Hyperlanes connect systems directly but those who use them are tied to the existing layout, turning the map into a series of nodes. Travelling through the warp is slower but provides freedom of movement. Wormholes require stations, constructed at the edge of systems, but allow for long jumps.

In the end-game, when the focus shifts again, that first choice of FTL mode may come to the fore again. Now, with empires locked into wars and alliances, new layers of the game become active. Central to this is the fact that scientific discoveries are rarely complete. Rather than ticking off each planet and anomaly that you find, you’ll be able to increase your knowledge as you research new scanning technologies. Even your home planet may have secrets that only reveal themselves late in the game, when the correct technology is in place.

Every species has a backstory and as your power increases, so will your ability to explore your own prehistory. You may find that there was a precursor race that seeded life through the galaxy or that your people are the remnants of an empire that once ruled the systems that you’re now unwittingly reclaiming. As with the rest of the design, the end-game is engineered to reward the curious, introducing unexpected stories and concepts.

Most exciting of all is the possibility of late-game catastrophes that change the entire nature of the galaxy. Research into AI could trigger a robotic revolt and old enemies may have to work together to contain the new threat. Those attuned to the warp may find that chaotic beings have been paying close attention to their tinkering with the thin fabric of reality. If that fabric were to tear, unimaginable horrors might spill through.

These events are the result of the actions of civilisations. The empire that concentrates on research and attempts to defuse hostilities at every turn may eventually become the undoing of the entire galaxy by probing too far and too deep. But nothing is certain – on another day, in another timeline, they may create the perfect society thay have been working toward for centuries.

There’s so much more: observation posts to monitor planetbound species, either non-aggressively or with added abductions and invasive surgeries; pre-sentient species that can be genetically modified and controlled; genocide and enslavement.

Most of the systems are already in place and the game is already in late alpha. I once spoke to Fåhraeus about the possibility of a single game that combined Paradox’s big four – Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Victoria and Hearts of Iron. At the time, he said it would be a dream project but the shifts in focus and design required for different eras would be incredibly difficult to accomplish effectively.

Perhaps even then he had realised that history was not the right canvas and was already looking to the stars, because Stellaris may be that dream project. If Stellaris combines the character- and story-led strategy gaming of Crusader Kings with the randomised mysteries of an infinity of worlds, it will be an astonishing creation. If the movement from exploration to empire and eventual crisis is effective, it could be Paradox’s finest hour, and a landmark in the development of both 4X and grand strategy design.

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  1. DrHuge says:

    “When you design the ships for that fleet”

    Ugh. That’s a shame. As interesting as this game sounds, I don’t know why every space-emperor simulator seems to think that plonking engines and coolant systems onto ships is my idea of time well spent. I’m a space-emperor, I have people to design ships.

    Otherwise, the game sounds stellar.

    • Eightball says:

      Sword of the Stars 2: Middle Management

    • dontnormally says:

      then, right after that: “Ships are customisable but the creation tools aren’t a central feature”

      • DrHuge says:

        Yes, I saw that, but most often optimized gameplay in these sorts of games means having to learn how to min-max ship design, which I have no interest in doing. Honestly, I concur with Rob Zacny’s opinion on 3 Moves Ahead (stated basically whenever space 4X is mentioned) that ship design as a feature is something that is in games because they feel they have to. It’s needless complexity for its own sake.

        • kerub says:

          On the other hand, using such a modular system to randomize AI ships and actually let them adapt to situations, it could be a massive gameplay improvement because you simply can’t learn which units are best to counter a specific enemy fleet anymore but instead have to think and adapt yourself and rely on variety more. That’s a thing lots of strategy games miss out on sadly. Of course, in the end it all comes down to min-maxing again, but you would be able to tailor a few different base units to fit specific roles, like for example in EVE Online.

          Admitted, I have never seen any game yet where this actually happens, because AI is usually stupid. But I still have hope.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Yeah, they better have some standard models you can pick. :/

      • David Bliff says:

        Even if they do, I’d be surprised if the game and difficulty weren’t balanced around min-maxing your ship design through specific layouts that you have to look up online if you want your ships to not melt in combat. :(

        • zentropy says:

          Even if they do, I’d be surprised if the game and difficulty weren’t balanced around min-maxing your ship design through specific layouts that you have to figure out yourself if you want your ships to not melt in combat! :D


    • Davie says:

      I just hope that translates into some randomized modular spaceships for the AI factions. It’d be irksome to see the Squidlings piloting the same metal cans as the Robot Hivemind.

    • Ejia says:

      Ah, but one of the perks of being a star-emperor is that nobody is willing to tell you that you can’t design a battleship the way you want.

      Still default designs are fine as long as customizable units are also available.

    • rochrist says:

      Ugh. That’s a shame. As interesting as this game sounds, I don’t know why every space-emperor simulator seems to think that plonking engines and coolant systems onto ships is my idea of time well spent. I’m a space-emperor, I have people to design ships.

      That’s amusing. For me, no ship designer, no sale!

      • BTAxis says:

        Same here. I never understood the “I’m an emperor, therefore I shouldn’t design the ships” argument. Designing ships is fun. I design all my military ships manually in Distant Worlds, and do so enthusiastically. I wouldn’t want to be deprived of that, and definitely not by reason of “playing the role” of a galactic ruler.

        • Owl Mark says:

          Well, for me building ships is not fun. Building anything is not fun. I hope you don’t have to do it.

        • DrHuge says:

          For me it is the opposite of fun. I’m not saying that your fun is wrong, obviously, but the concept of the ship designer seems inconsistent with the high-level decision making at the core of Paradox’s games. It’s needless complexity for its own sake, an additional and complex subsystem to master just to make one system (combat) work optimally.

      • Cinek says:

        Yep, same here. Actually I tend to have more fun with designer than the “proper” content of such games as… well… they tend to be rather dull if you ignore the element of fleet customization.

    • Arvind says:

      I agree completely. This is probably the thing that stops me from playing Space 4Xes for more than 1-2 games.

    • ANGLVD3TH says:

      I love the ability to customize my fleet, but I totally get that lots of people aren’t interested in the tedium. It would be nice if there were a comprehensive set of premades so the customization is a choice, maybe even an option while making the game to turn off manual ship building and force everyone to use the defaults.

      • Cronstintein says:

        I think Star Ruler has an excellent solution to this problem. It has a robust ship designer but you can also easily download other peoples’ ship designs without having to even leave the game. (There’s a community tab where you can grab that stuff from).

        I personally like making my own but I think that was an elegant solution.

      • BovineMadness says:

        With CKII being up there on my Favourite Games Ever list, and EU and HOI not being too far behind, I’m going to find it very hard to not be psyched for this. The last half-decent sci-fi 4X I enjoyed was GalCiv II, and if this can equal that without the naff shipbuilding bleh-ness that crippled GalCiv in the later game, all the better. Hopefully, as mentioned above, Paradox will not fall into the trap of relying on ship types too much. It’ll be a fine line to tread though, pleasing those who enjoy the design/customisation element whilst either giving the option to disable it or making sure it doesn’t have a major effect on gameplay if you *don’t* min/max the crap out of things.

    • gorice says:

      Well, I’d say that setting the specifications for your totally-not-ersatz-phallic battleship designs is much more magisterial than micromanaging the tactics of your subordinates. If it was good enough for Hitler… Eh, bad analogy.

  2. FFabian says:

    Holy crap. Sounds awesome! Estimated release is when?

    • brucethemoose says:

      The leaked Steam page says Feb 16, 2016.

      link to

      • Tssha says:

        As always, take this date with a grain of salt. Delays, Schedule Slips, Showstopper Bugs…it’s pretty ballpark.

        …I am very grateful for having this ballpark nonetheless. :D

  3. daimonahte says:

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

    Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.


  4. Premium User Badge

    InfamousPotato says:

    This sounds absolutely fantastic. I never really got into Crusader Knights (the learning curve frightens me), but this might just force me to finally enter the genre.

    On an unrelated note, I kinda hope that you’re given a choice to be the robot uprising instead of fighting it.

    • darkath says:

      This will most likely be possible.

      In Hearts of Iron 4 if there is a communist uprising in germany for instance, you’ll be able to pick the side of the communists.
      In victoria 2 you have different kind of population with different political views (but you couldn’t pick a side, at best you could voluntary lose to AI rebels provoke a regime change in your country, of which you’d still be in charge)
      Stellaris seems to combine the 2 systems so that populations in your empire can dynamically secede in a new entity. It would only be natural you’d be able to pick a side.

      So if for instance you achieve Singularity through technological advances in AI, and robots are a significant part of your population, it would only be natural to be able to side with the new emergent robot faction.

    • Innocent Dave says:

      If it’s working off the clausewitz engine, then once any ‘rebel’ faction gets some land and becomes a ‘real’ faction, you should be able to just save the game, quit to menu, and reload as the new faction.

  5. Wulfram says:

    It sounds over complex and liable to turn into a gigantic mess

    • JustAPigeon says:

      liable to turn into a gigantic mess

      Hopefully! Really liking the sound of this so far.

    • Disgruntled Goat says:

      Welcome to Paradox grand strategy.

    • Anthile says:


    • Chalky says:

      Posting while having never played a paradox strategy I assume?

      • Wulfram says:

        I’ve played lots. They seem to have a better idea of what they’re about than this

        Or at least they started out with a solid, focused core experience, even if CK2 has sprawled out all over the place with expansions.

      • Captain Joyless says:

        I have played plenty thousands of hours of CK2 and EU4, and he’s absolutely right. Most of their games ARE a gigantic mess. The games only get worse as Paradox tries to add new DLCs without taking existing features into account. As a result you get DLCs that don’t really function correctly for 3-6 months.

        Common Sense for EU4 is a great example of this. They introduced forts and and instant sieges of unfortified provinces, without changing rebel mechanics at all. As a result the two systems no longer make sense in relation to each other.

  6. Christo4 says:

    I never really get into 4x games like crusader kings. The last game i kinda liked was sins of a solar empire.
    But this… This sounds really awesome!
    It’s just what i would really like to play, slowly and methodically, advancing my race or being it’s downfall.
    Now, if they add random maps, big or small, if you can choose what dangers you want to have or the aggression of AI, number of alien races and if you choose between other races other than humans, then this sounds pretty fantastic.

    • Myrdinn says:

      Paradox doesn’t make 4X games though, they’re grand strategy games! 4X games tend to be (or have to be?) turn based, Paradox studio games are always real time with pause. They have very, very little to do with games like Civ 5 (except the history stuff of course).

      • Caelinus says:

        They tend to be, but do not have to be as far as I understand. There are all sorts of 4x-lite types as well.

        As long are you are eXploreing, eXpanding, eXploiting and eXterminating in a strategy game, it probably fits.

        • Heatth says:

          You don’t, though, specially not in Crusader Kings. The only Paradox Grand Strategy Game you have any eXploring, is Europa Universalis. In all other games you know the whole map from the start. Similarly, the eXpanding aspect is downplayed. Only EU and Victoria allow for settling on previously “empty” land. While 4X early game are usually all about expanding “pacifically”, this concept don’t really exist in Paradox’s gsg. Finally, resource menagement, thus eXploiting is not the same as in 4X games. It vary from game to game, but commonly in paradox games map resources are not all that important. In CK2, they don’t exist at all.

          So, yeah, I think it is fair to say Paradox’s games are not 4X games. The only X they all had in common is the eXterminating.

          • Shadow says:

            I think the Xs fit pretty well for the most part.

            I’ll give you that eXploration doesn’t have a major role in, say, CK2 and the HoI series, but it is present in Victoria and Europa Universalis, as you have said. It doesn’t really matter -how- eXpansion, eXploitation and eXtermination are pulled off: they remain central concepts to the games. If grand strategy isn’t 4X in itself, then they’re definitely sibling genres.

          • mike2R says:

            I think it really depends how you play, how 4X like their games are. For me, the main feature of a 4X is the exponential growth – you start with a single city or whatever, and then start doubling through until you’ve become a great empire. This describes how some people like to play CK and EU pretty well – start with a one province minor, take over your neighbour and continue on from there to get as far towards a world conquest as you can before you get bored.

            Me, I’ve always liked playing majors, which makes the games very different to play. Expansion is much more incremental – getting to a point where you are twice as powerful as when you start takes a long long time, if it happens at all. For me, this sort of game isn’t a 4X, though I suppose you could say its similar to the gameplay of a 4X mid to late game.

      • snv says:

        Actually they are turn based games. In CK each turn is a day, for example. You just do not have to press a “next turn button” all the time.
        Reasonably small autoadvancing turns, with a pause function which does not restrict the player’s choices, are my personal favorite variant of turn based.

    • brucethemoose says:

      Same. Games set in the past with old tech and historical figures don’t really scratch my strategy itch… Yes, I know I’m crazy.

      But this looks amazing.

      • banananas says:

        You’re not crazy! It’s just a well known fact that the past is boring as hell. ;)
        Just gimme that sweet future! This is sounding absolutely amazing!

  7. TheAngriestHobo says:

    So, this is coming out, like, tomorrow, right? Right?

  8. Zenicetus says:

    Very interesting, although we’ll have to see more before I can get too excited. As a quick take:

    Positives — That idea for science research sounds like a very interesting alternative to the standard tech tree. Randomized alien cultures from a large pool will help replay value.

    Negatives — It’s great that they recognize the problem with 4X end games, but what they’re talking about here for alternate endings sounds awfully ambitious. They’ll have to prove they can pull that off. Finally, I can already imagine the tide of complaints coming about lack of hands-on ship battles. Not a problem for me personally, but there’s a large contingent that wants this.

    Anyway, will definitely be keeping an eye on this one (and Endless Space 2).

    • jon33 says:

      paradox fans would be angry if they had hands on control

    • Christo4 says:

      I watched recently a theory regarding races and if there are any in space.
      And there was an interesting part, in which they said that perhaps there is some kind of filter that all species must pass through to make it colonize space.
      What if, the end-game is basically a filter for species that have already colonized space, to continue living in it and to conquer it? Perhaps that’s what they intend to do. The early game to be a preparation for the unavoidable cataclysm and if you survive it or not will mean victory or defeat.

  9. cairbre says:

    It’s life Jim but not as we know it. It’s a pity I am to thick to play paradox games. I will need personal tuition. Sounds amazing like all their games.

    • king0zymandias says:

      You are most certainly not. However it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you are trying to learn all the systems at once. So just stop worrying about learning everything. You’ll get there as long as you keep playing. Don’t be afraid if things don’t go your away or something disastrous happens, dealing with these unexpected situations is like half the fun. Watch some tutorial and relax and keep playing.

      • cairbre says:

        Thanks for the advice. I will give it another go I haven’t admitted defeat yet.

  10. James says:

    This… sounds too good to be true. If it is true I will never need to touch another space-em-up strategy game again. If there are mods I will never need ANY strategy game again (apart from Civ 5) and the genre may be declared complete.

    Me want.

    I just have one question: what constitutes a victory in this game?

    • brucethemoose says:

      What if there is no well defined victory condition?

      You could conquer the whole galaxy and enslave all pre-space flight species, only to have it fracture into multiple factions. Your citizens could be transcendent gods, but some scientist could blunder and release unimaginable horrors on the universe. Your technology could make you unstoppable, but that same tech could backfire in an AI rebellion.

      In other words, no matter what you achieve, something can always go horribly wrong… Which is awesome. I bet Paradox will let you set an arbitrary victory condition, but playing to survive sounds like fun to me.

      • James says:

        Me too, I was just wondering if they’d torn that out of the rulebook too.

        • blastaz says:

          Paradox games never have a win condition, merely a time limit.

          If they move away from history I can see them adding more traditional victory conditions though…

          • darkath says:

            The project lead, Henrik, said that there will be no time limit, and they have plans for victory conditions. But i expect you’ll be able to play infinitely with a setting/mod.

      • Rizlar says:

        That does sounds very Paradox. In EU/CK there is no defined victory condition, just whatever goal you set yourself. But there are also lots of crazy achievements to chase, you could also refer to the points score of your nation to define a ‘win’.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I am a bit skeptic – this sounds incredibly ambitious. However, two of my favorite and most played games (CK2 and EU4) are from Paradox, so I’m optimistic. I definitely want to know more!

    • jon33 says:

      you should always have a bit of healthy scepticism no matter the developer.

  12. toshiro says:

    Haha, I like enthusiasm. But alas, proclaiming a game that does not exist yet as the best game ever made is a bit over-enthusiastic.

  13. Cronstintein says:

    Very interested in this! Although I’ve bounced off Crusader Kings several times so hopefully that doesn’t happen here.

    In the meantime I suggest people consider Star Ruler 2, my current favorite 4x game.

  14. Tei says:

    This sounds fantastic!

    • Josh W says:

      Yeah, exactly the sort of thing that interests me. I was just talking to someone the other day about how brilliant it is when you have highly abrupt tech trees, where it’s not about finding an incremental improvement on a previous model, but allowing your civilisation to suddenly fire off in a different direction

      Attaching exploration and research together is a brilliant way to enhance that, where research is about encounters with the mysteries of the universe, and finding ways to make them useful. It seems like someone has been paying a lot of attention to what big scale science fiction actually is!

  15. Jediben says:

    Unless my race can be a meat – based gestalt entity with the consistency of porridge and the horrified memories of those individuals that resisted the Unification process to use as a dibilitation weapon, rendering entire worlds powerless to halt the inexorable joining of all biomaterial into my glorious porridgey Glory, I’m out.

    • brucethemoose says:

      You’ll never defeat my grey goo society! Never!

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      My race of sentient spoons will be your undoing.

    • Premium User Badge

      bonuswavepilot says:

      Unless my sentient language-virus manages to rewrite your cortical pathways with a carefully selected sequence of phonemes and draw you into the fold. The Lexicon – to know it is to be it.

      • Lord_Sheogorath says:

        All was for naught! Your powers are all useless against my Cheese Based Dwemer Automatons powered by the screams/laughter of children (Both are very efficient, each child being worth about 5000 BTUs) although It might be powered by their souls; I was not very clear to the designers during the process of creation. Any how you will all submit and become one with the GOUDAMIND. Cheers!

  16. BluePencil says:

    Is it real time with pause like the other Klauswitz engine games?

  17. Premium User Badge

    Philopoemen says:

    As long as procedurally generated species doesn’t turn into Spore – millions of possibilities, but they all suck.

    My favourite thing about the Paradox games since EU first came out has always been the events, and the pseudo-history. A Sci-fi setting both alows for more and less in that regard, but the inclusion of the backstory sounds like a step in the right direction.

    Cautiously optimistic.

  18. Mr.K says:

    Well, this literally sounds too good to be true. While I’m a huge fan of Crusader Kings, I have my doubts about whether Paradox can actually pull all this off.

    • brucethemoose says:

      Cities Skylines and PoE made a ton of money, right? I bet Paradox put a good chunk of that money into this game, which just might let them pull it off.

  19. King in Winter says:

    I’m hyped.

    One thing not mentioned in the article but came up in the twitch stream, your populations will work in similar manner to Victoria’s pop groups.

  20. GCU Speak Softly says:

    <cite="Or maybe you train the world’s greatest scientist-adventurers, create the most advanced ships in the universe, and set up silent listening posts on the moons orbiting planets that are home to pre-spacefaring species. You can learn from them, guide them and eventually become their patrons. You are a Banksian Culture."

    Stopped reading there. TAKE. MY. MONEY. NOW.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Agreed. I always though Banks’ novels would make a wonderful game setting.

      Although, shouldn’t it be “You are THE Banksian Culture”?

    • gunny1993 says:

      Citing Ian M Banks as source material = My Money

  21. gi_ty says:

    Wow! I mean I love Paradox already but having nearly exhausted myself on Distant Worlds for my space empire fix this comes along and sounds like it could reinvent the genre! Sooooooo excited can I has now please!

  22. filsd says:

    Soo… this is basically Asimov’s Foundation, teh game???! Oh boy… :D

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      It’d only be a true Foundation game if you made all your decisions at the start of the game and then it played out without any further input from you for thousands of years.

      And then you inexplicably get absorbed by a hive mind that comes out of nowhere.

      • Lanfranc says:

        And halfway through, a weird overpowered NPC appears and messes everything up, because otherwise the narrative doesn’t work.

      • gunny1993 says:

        GODDAMN IT, spoilers bro, spoilers

  23. Disgruntled Goat says:

    This looks AMAZING.

    Though I do hope they come up with a better name before release.

  24. SlimShanks says:

    Maximum hype mode engaged.

  25. Henas says:


    I assume using real time with pause means we will have Stardates instead of months/years?

    Wonder what the options for planetary conquest are like?

  26. Ejia says:

    The only thing I don’t like about this is the idea of randomized technology. I almost always play a science/tech based faction/race with the goal of planting all those sweet sweet tech orchards and preening when they’ve gone into full bloom.

  27. Premium User Badge

    luis.s says:

    6 months to try and not get expectations that are too high. That’s gonna be tricky haha.

  28. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    Holy fucking christ. This sounds like my dream game. And “Banksian Culture” got a shout out too.

    Me too excited. Losing perspective fast…

    One thing we do know for sure – it will be a big sprawling mess and wonky as hell on release, but will be beautifully supported with tons of expansions. So 2 years after release it will be thing of beauty.

  29. vahnn says:


    Games like Hearts of Iron, Europa Universialis, and Crusader Kings really, really, really, really interest me. I love the depth and the seemingly impenetrable learning curve. I’ve never actually fully learned one of these games, though. I’ve sat down a few times and tried, but the setting was never compelling for me. I grow bored of knights, kings, castles, and so on. It’s all really quite dull to me.

    Even Hearts of Iron 3 with its WWII theme could not compel me to full invest my efforts into the game.

    But put this type of game in Space… Oh yes!

  30. Skeletor68 says:

    Mother of God this sounds amazing.

  31. Press X to Gary Busey says:

    Character stuff from CK + space. Dune.

  32. aoanla says:

    I am also very excited by this (although, I am a tiny bit sad that the map seems to still be 2d – moving to 3d introduces changes to the strategic element that would’ve been interesting).

  33. Anders Wrist says:

    Comets! Comets everywhere!

    • Aklyon says:

      Capture all of them! We can be letting random aliens get stability hits, but we /can/ use them as a weapon! Probably!

  34. Zephro says:


    I’ve wanted a Paradox 4X for so long. Most of them are micro management nightmares like RTS’s or are still directly apeing Masters of Orion/Civilisation template. I really love the pace and style of the Paradox Grand Strategies and oh god SPACE!!!!

  35. EhexT says:

    It should really be mentioned that most of the stuff in the article isn’t things Paradox has come up with. Most of it already exists in various 4X games. Stuff like the wildly different FTL modes, triggering game altering AI rebellions with careless research, diplomacy as an extension of warfare, ship designing, random galaxies, etc. is things that have been done before, and done VERY well. Paradox is gonna have to work hard to make those things not worse than the sources.

    • Pantalaimon says:

      I agree. I’m excited to play this, and I’m glad Paradox are entering the genre, but on paper, Stellaris does read *a lot* like GalCiv, with a Paradox bent. GalCiv III cried out for innovation and had absolutely none of it, so I it’ll be interesting to see how they shake things up.

  36. anna212 says:


  37. Urfin says:

    Funny how after all these years the industry just doesn’t seem to be able to match Master of Orion 1&2, no matter what they try. I really wish that particular curse would end already.

  38. v21v21v21 says:


    Like pseudopods, but facing the other way.

  39. v21v21v21 says:

    “traits that reflect his exposure to horrors beyond comprehension”

    It is a documented condition called “Learning”.

  40. v21v21v21 says:

    “There are three forms of faster-than-light travel and each species chooses one at the beginning of the game”

    Please let one of them be the Not Going Anywhere. In the famous words of my race’s Master Boffin when defending his grant application,”You //think// I’m standing still but actually I’m moving too fast for you to see. There. Did it again. See? FTL. See? Again.”

  41. v21v21v21 says:

    Ok, quick question. So is the endgame “plot twist” something that happens through the actions and parallel history of more than one major civ, so you get the revolting robot //and// the torn fabric //and// what have you? Which sounds “fair and square” and kind of crazy? Or it happens to one and rocks everyone else? Or through the player’s actions only, Truman Show style?

  42. v21v21v21 says:

    What helps me not get too excited about this is reminding myself that CK, EU, Vicky, HoI are the success stories. And even those went through a couple of iterations before becoming what they are. Paradox’ development history is so full with interesting sounding concepts which never got off the ground.

    It would be nice if it works, though…

  43. slerbal says:

    I have played hundreds of hours of CK2 and EU4 and in general I really enjoy most Paradox grand strategy titles and this looks promising.

    But I won’t be jumping on the hype train. There is no way the game can live up to the over-exuberant enthusiasm of the article and that is problematic because if we’ve learned one thing in the last few years it is that over hyping player expectations are a recipe for disaster. Without more information everything said so far is hyperbole.

    The Clauswitz engine is great to an extent but the ballooning save files, shaky netcode and other issues could still really hold this one back.

    So I’m interested, but not hyped. Hopefully that will mean I get a really enjoyable game that I appreciate for what it is, rather than isn’t.

  44. Chatlanin says:

    What is “Banksian Culture”? Tell me please. And here the plant ?. My English is very weak.

  45. oldrocker99 says:

    I’ll wait and see, but the announcement of a Paradox space game, shall we say, attracted my eye.

  46. Thurgret says:

    I know it’s been mentioned a couple times already, but if you’re after a good space strategy game, take a look at Distant Worlds: Universe.

  47. ExitDose says:

    I hope that the approach here is what it is in their grand strategy games, as opposed to just iterating on MoO’s corpse like every other game of this type seems to be(save for Last Federation).

  48. Metalogic says:

    ” There’s no direct control of the tactical situation but you’ll be able to see how your designs and combinations perform” – that’s going to upset quite a few people… Although, I’ve only ever liked tactical combat in 4X games when it’s turn-based (like in Moo2 and the early-access Predestination: link to )