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New Stellaris expansion doubles down on humans

I’ll be honest – I’m not totally sure what Paradox are going for with their Humanoid Species Pack for Stellaris, which is released today. The motivation seems to be that humanoids are ‘the most-played phenotype’ in the 4X sci-fi game, and as such they’ve stuck in a whole bunch of human-like species, include cyclopes, orcish types, demonic sorts and bionic-eyed dwarves. I guess this makes playing as something other than straight-up boring humans a little more appealing to straight-up boring humans who always choose to play as straight-up boring humans.

However, what’s confusing me more is references to humanoids finally getting their own unique ship class, ‘inspired by the classics of Western science fiction.’ Is… is that a very careful way of trying to be a bit more Star Warsy or Battlestarry without making any lawyers cross?

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To be clear, this isn’t a game-changing expansion. The vast majority of The Humanoid Species Pack is additional art options for portraits and ships, plus a new, more human voice option for chatty AI VIR. It’s the ships which are probably the biggest draw for those of us who were happy playing as insects and blobs, and don’t require our species reps to look more or less like someone you might see in Sainsbury’s. The other official description Paradox offer for the ships is that they’re “inspired by humanity’s imagination,” which, again, seems like a hint that they’re riffing off iconic bits of flying metal.

Looking at the video above, I’m not seeing anything so brazen as a Millenimum Falcon or Enterprise, but there’s definitely stuff with a slight Star Destroyer or Viper vibe, and a bigg’un that looks a little bit Battlestar. But it is, frankly, all a bit Some Strategy Game Spaceships, so I struggle a little to imagine this pack being one people really race out to get. But what do I know? I like to be a Fungus. And in the game.

Let’s have the Numanoid pack next, anyway. In the meantime, the Humanoid pack is $7.99/£5.79, and available from Paradox or via Steam.