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History In The Future: Stellaris Dev Diary

Science fiction is a bit like “history in the future”, says Henrik Fåhraeus in the Stellaris [official site] dev diary below. Having brought medieval Europe to life with Crusader Kings II, Fåhraeus is leading the team that has been given the task of taking Paradox grand strategy to the stars. I’ve been quiet about Stellaris recently and that’s not a sign of disinterest – there’s still no other game I’m more excited about – I’m just trying to stay calm. Chances are, once it’s out I won’t be thinking about anything else for a good while so best to focus my attention elsewhere while I still can.

This isn’t the most complex video – some of the text dev diaries have been far more informative about specific features – but I’d rather dig into all of that when I have a chance to play. What this video does well, I think, is to give an overview of why Stellaris is exciting and how it borrows from Paradox’s vast experience while also doing lots of new, exciting things.

If we can disregard all of the randomised races, endgame complexities and research rethinks for a moment, it’s fair to say that the most intriguing thing about Stellaris might be the attempt to marry a more conventional 4X (Civ-style) opening with the mindset of a Paradox grand strategy game. The historical games, by nature of their setting, have asymmetrical openings, with each AI and human player beginning with a vastly different reputation, share of power and wealth, and even ruleset in some cases.

In Stellaris, everyone begins from the beginning, or at least from the beginning of their adventures beyond the home planet. They’re not all equal though, as each race will have certain qualities and traits that play into short- and long-term strategies, and starting location will surely have an impact as well. But nobody will be in the position that France or the Holy Roman Empire or whoever else you might care to name are in at the beginning of a historical strategy game – they’ll have to earn that right.

Stellaris is less than a month away. May 9th. I’d book the week off work if I didn’t have this ridiculous job. As it is, I’d be cancelling holidays if I’d booked them.

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Adam Smith

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