Endless Space 2, the 4X game about achieving galactic supremacy with unique and interesting factions, is having a free weekend. Just to confirm: your space will end on Sunday at 9pm GMT unless you buy the game. There's a new update too, which expands the diplomatic options and adds a bunch of other new stuff.
If you only accept your space in truly infinite form, it's half-price now too.
The devs have also launched the 'Galactic Statecraft' update, which adds more options to the diplomatic side of the game. In theory, you'll be able to solve your conflicts via chatting rather than combating. It also pirate lairs to worry about, plot-related end-game bonuses, orbital stations, constellation control bonuses, weapon balancing and new events. It's all detailed in the patch notes, as well as this here video.
Oh, and Amplitude are also running a "play-to-win community challenge", where the more players that launch the game during the free weekend, the more bonus stuff they'll add to the game. It seems a bit odd to me - you can see the bonuses at the bottom of this page, and I get the impression that they're already done. Hopefully they'll find their way into the game at some point, regardless of how successful the weekend is.
I haven't tried Endless Space 2, though I had a lot of fun with its predecessor. Our man Fraser will tell you things have only improved:
"Amplitude have crafted a game that oozes character and charm out of every pore. With its faction-specific soundtrack, lavish art and light RPG-like quests, it’s hard not to fall for it. Character doesn’t just mean flavour, either. Sure, Endless Space 2 is full of that, but what’s most compelling is the way in which it intersects with the mechanics, elevating them both."
My favourite thing about the games Amplitude make is that they're all set in the same universe - from fantasy 4Xing in Endless Legend to roguelike tower defence in Dungeon of the Endless. They're all part of an interconnected story, and the same resource types get harnessed in different ways in each game.
The free weekend on Steam for Endless space 2 ends at 9pm GMT on Sunday, and you can pick the game up for 50%-off until November 22nd.