Offblast! Endless Space 2 Hits Steam Early Access

Endless Space 2 [official site] is not out. If you want the full and fancy 4X space strategy experience, you might need to wait another six or so months. However! If you want to play something of it, any of it, and you want to be a teacher’s pet and maybe help shape the game, you can now have a crack at a chunk on Steam Early Access. We’ve played a bit ourselves and it’s… clearly not finished, but you knew that because it’s not finished yet, yeah?

Developers Amplitude Studios are quite clear about Endless Space 2#s initial state: “It is in Alpha state, meaning it is playable, but misses a lot of content, game balance is rough, and only English language is available.” It’s only got half the full game’s factions, two-thirds of its victory conditions, and so on. This initial release is focused on the first 125 turns too, as they’re polishing that first phase up.

Here’s what Fraser Brown concluded after his time with it:

“Though it’s still missing a lot of the pieces that will ultimately, hopefully, hold it all together, Endless Space 2 does an excellent job of showing Amplitude’s vision. I know that sounds a bit wanky, but its weird races and delightful, if a bit self-indulgent, writing is like a statement of intent. It’s not trying to be another Master of Orion (and thank goodness, given the most recent attempt) and is more concerned with diversity and storytelling than precise balance and ticking a very specific list of 4X boxes. It’s bold, then, but just a bit rough right now.”

If you do want in now, it’ll cost you £26.24/29,99€/$29.99 on Steam. Do yell your thoughts at Amplitude’s Games2Gether feedback platform doodad too. Amplitude aren’t sure when they’ll release the full version, but do note “our Early Access periods generally last for 4 to 6 months” – this isn’t their first rodeo.

To celebrate the launch, hey, here’s the same basic trailer from two different perspectives. Here’s where the Sophos came from:

And what the Vodyani are all about:

From this site

16 Comments

  1. SaintAn says:

    $30 is a pretty danged good price. Was going to wait, but I think I’ll go ahead and get it now. I love starting over, over and over, with these types of games anyways. So I’ll enjoy replaying as the game grows. Though the 100 turn limit sounds really low. I was playing the first game last night and hit that pretty fast.

    • crowleyhammer says:

      I think they mean the game is geared to be properly “playable” for the first 125 turns and the game is less developed at that point not that the game ends.

  2. Quite So says:

    I really wanted to like Endless Space, and forced myself to play it several times for a few hours each time, but the “fun” part just never clicked with me. It looks like a great game, and it’s well put together, but playing it felt like a chore.

    I used to love 4X space games, but I similarly bounced off of Stellaris. I guess my brain has devolved into useless sludge that can’t enjoy this type of game anymore. I’ll probably still get Endless Space 2 because I want to support the genre, and that thing about hope…

    • Kestrel says:

      I’m entirely with you. I can’t enjoy Endless Space. Actually, I own tons of spacey 4X games. I don’t like any of them, save MoO 1&2. I think it’s more than just nostalgia. In both Orions, ship building choices were meaningful enough that I actually really enjoyed designing my own ships and tossing them into combat. I really haven’t found a game that nails it quite like MoO did.

      • Kestrel says:

        That sounded way more harsh and petulant than I meant, I realized.. After the five minute editing period had lapsed. Oops.

        • Gothnak says:

          I agree with you (not that you are petulant, or maybe i am too) in with MoO2 is still the best game there is. For me it was the turned based combat, and that based on the tech you found, combat was a significantly different experience. The rest of the game wasn’t actually that complicated, but did what you expected.

          I bounced off Endless Legend, Warlock 2, Age Of Wonders 3 as well from a fantasy side. Master of Magic is still the best, is it just nostalgia?

          • Someoldguy says:

            I don’t think it’s nostalgia. The new games are taking different approaches to things and it either works for you or it doesn’t. I’m half sold on Stellaris but I bounced off all those you mention, too.

            I want to play an active part in designing my spaceships and influencing the combat. Rock-paper-scissors in space is just awful in my book, particularly when you can install an alien admiral (even before you’ve met any aliens) that suddenly gives 80% boosts to everything and you have to set up your medium and short range moves before you’ve even seen the results of long range.

            I had high hopes for the new MoO until they decided to change half the things that made MoO 1&2 work so well. I’m sometimes amazed these studios haven’t announced the fully-animated, realtime-with-pause Chess 2, where you can level up after each game to give your pieces more hitpoints and buy in-app purchases to equip them with grenades, rocket launchers and seasonal costumes. Bound to be a winner, eh?

    • ramirezfm says:

      With you on that one. I love the 4x genre and I like the games, it’s just… I don’t have fun playing them…

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        StevenP says:

        Heh, thats actually similar to how I feel about 4X games. My enjoyment of them seems to have declined since the days of MOO2, MOM and Civilization II.

        One problem for me is that current 4X games seem to be too bloated to me.

    • Jeremy says:

      Endless Space didn’t quite land for me either. I played through a few games, and didn’t have much desire to return. There was nothing functionally wrong with the game at all, and everything pointed towards something I should enjoy, but what can ya do? On the other hand, I really did enjoy Stellaris a lot, and it sounds like some of the changes that Endless Space 2 are making will take some of the ideas from Stellaris and add a healthy dose of nuance to it. That makes me think this will have a better chance of connecting with me.

      • somnolentsurfer says:

        I really enjoyed Endless Space. I’ve not played loads of it, but every time I have I’ve come damn close to playing an entire campaign in one sitting. But then, other than Civ, it was the first 4X game I’ve played.

    • Zenicetus says:

      For me, there is definitely an element of “seen all this before” with each new space 4X game that comes out. I haven’t seen anything really exciting lately. Maybe I’ve played too many of these games over the years.

      I thought the randomized aliens in Stellaris might be interesting, but it’s ended up just flattening out all the different factions so they lack personality. On the other hand, a corresponding strength in the game is that it allows creating and role-playing a faction based on your own ideas, or recreating classic Sci-Fi races. So I’ve latched onto that, as a way to stay interested in Stellaris. Role-playing keeps me interested in strategy games where the mechanics alone might not be all that compelling.

      I’ll have to see if that’s the case with ES2. I did buy it and took a quick look just now. I’m a fan of Amplitude’s art direction and UI design, and played their earlier games except for the Dungeon one. They didn’t stick with me for long, but I never felt like they were a waste of money.

      This new one looks pretty, as expected, although the UI scaling seems a bit off on my 1920×1200 monitor (text too large in some places, icons too small in others). It’s an Alpha so plenty of time to finesse things like that. I’ll need a few days to get my head around the new design.

    • MisterFurious says:

      I got it in a bundle and didn’t like it at all. I reinstalled it today and played for a few hours and still didn’t like it. I used to be big fan of 4X games but now I find them too time consuming and tedious to play. There’s that point where you know you’ve won but you still have to play for ten more hours to finish. Plus, the AI in games is usually terrible. It might just be because I’m getting old. I’m old enough to remember a time when game developers paid people to beta test their games, not charge people for the privilege.

  3. Caius Cosadass says:

    I have tried spatial 4X games several times but they just feel needlessly cold and hard to reach. I’d be thrilled to get a game less focused on grindy economic and political choices and more focused on enjoyable and meaningful exploration (just like the first 100 turns in a Civ game where a lot of stuff feels new even though its based on the same repeated terrain generation). In space games, you don’t see much except for a lot of void and a lot of planets in between. I’d settle for more thorough version of Out There, sort of a strategy version of No Man’s Sky / Out There / Faster Than Light, with more pace and intensity and more density to the game field.