Paradox's sprawling 4X space strategy game Stellaris expands again today. Between a new paid expansion - MegaCorp - and a free update code-named Le Guin, it's good times for those looking to boldly expand into new markets and buy out new civilisations. The MegaCorp expansion allows players to run a corporate empire, establishing branch offices on any world open to trade and growing fat and powerful off the success of others. The free update adds a lot, including crime, internal and galactic markets and a new empire cohesion system. The devs break it all down in the video below.
As is standard with Stellaris expansions, low-level fundamental features are included in the free update, while the high-level stuff built on it goes into the latest expansion. The Le Guin update is almost entirely focused on economic pressures, and you can see the full patch notes here. There are systems simulating trade markets both local and galactic, although more money means more problems - crime levels are now tracked and can have nasty effects on an empire. To mitigate this, you can build a literal prison planet - penal colonies to exile your problem people to are an option.
The expansion is focused on the new MegaCorp civilisation type, as well as some wealth-generating new megastructures. You can mine hyper-condensed goodies out of a black hole, impress the neighbours with planet-sized art installations or earn political points at the Interstellar Assembly. There's merchant guilds, new travelling traders, and for those empires that consider life cheap and best traded in bulk, there's a galactic slave market. Perhaps a little less morally questionable, you can also sell robots as slaves - presumably free will is an optional update feature.