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Stellaris' next expansion tells tales of new horizons

THE WORM

One of the best things about Paradox's increasingly feature-studded and DLC-expanded 4X strategy sandbox Stellaris is its focus on storytelling. In the vein of Crusader Kings 2, you'll find yourself frequently confronted with decisions to make as the ever-living Emperor Of Space, which can often spiral into lengthy story arcs with sometimes spectacular end results. The next expansion for the game, Distant Stars, will be adding a good chunk more interactive prose to flesh out exploring the far fringes of the galaxy, adding a multitude of story arcs short and long to the mix.

Probably the most impressive story arc in the game at present is The Horizon Signal, which was added as free DLC at the end of 2016. While it would be terrible of me to spoil it, those on the fence as to whether Stellaris is worth trying might want to peek at this many, many-staged, empire-redefining saga here on the official Stellaris Wiki.

There are four key chunks to Distant Stars, which - from Paradox's descriptions, at least - sounds like one new major story arc and three new sets of smaller event chains. In the headlining 'Behind Closed Doors' story, you and other rival empires will be fighting it out over a sealed pathway to a mysterious sector of space outside of any known charts, which sounds very much like the kind of grand sci-fi tale that could ordinarily fill a book, but Stellaris will use to generously season an individual playthrough.

On a smaller scale, the 'Sensors are Picking up… That Can’t be Right' events will introduce a whole new range of weird spatial anomalies to examine, research, or shoot torpedoes at. 'Brave New Worlds' will include... new worlds, full of new life and new civilizations to test out your best Starfleet impression on. Or shoot torpedoes at.

Lastly, for those who go for the torpedoes first and ask questions later, the 'There’s Always a Bigger Fish' events will add a number of gigantic space-faring mega-creatures to the universe. Some may be friendly and good subjects for research, others may want to snack on a fleet or two. Either way, they're just space monsters and, well, torpedoes.

Sadly, Paradox aren't quite ready to tell us when Distant Stars will be ready for release (hopefully it's not caught in some kind of horrible predeterministic temporal loop), but they've already set its launch price at £7.19/$10, and already has a store entry on Paradox's site here. Or maybe it was always there, just waiting for us to discover it, as it knew we would.

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