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Stellaris Nexus - aka "Stellaris in an hour" - delays its early access release for a week-long open beta

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A fleet battle in Stellaris Nexus
Image credit: Paradox Interactive

Stellaris Nexus hinges off one of the downsides of the Paradox space game’s epic scale - the amount of time it takes to finish a match - to present a bite-sized side dish of 4X nibbles if you only have an hour to play instead of, say, a day. Now that plate of nibbles is offering up, er, a basically identical plate of bite-sized nibbles that you don’t have to pay for right away, as the game has seen its early access release date - planned for tomorrow, no less - replaced by a last-minute week-long open beta.

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Stellaris Nexus had been due to hit early access on December 5th, but that release date has officially been pushed back to December 12th - next Tuesday - by publishers Paradox Arc and developers Whatboy Games.

Instead, tomorrow will see the launch of an open beta via Steam. In terms of what that means you’ll be able to play, it seems like not much will change. The game’s makers say that the open beta will include everything set to feature in the early access release. On top of that, players’ progress will carry over from the beta to early access. “So what’s actually changed?” I hear you ask.

Well, as far as I can read it, the main difference will be that the early access version will cost $15 when it arrives, but the open beta will be free - effectively giving players a free week to try the game before they have to cough up any cash.

Plotting to take over the galaxy in a Stellaris Nexus screenshot.
Image credit: Paradox Arc

I’m assuming that there are some semantic benefits in having the first week be an “open beta” rather than “early access”, too, in case anything breaks on the multiplayer server side, for instance, and people get angry - now you haven’t paid a penny and any hiccups can be put down to open beta hijinks rather than actual early access.

Nexus largely looks to recreate the broad strokes of Stellaris - expand across the universe, develop tech and throw fleets of spaceships at each other in battles - but aims to do all of that in a matter of minutes rather than multiple hours. Going by Edwin’s time with it last month, that’ll still largely require you to know your Xs from your Xs and get to grips with the basic rules, but it at least sounds like it’s not skimping on the strategy meat here despite the smaller overall course.

We’ll all be able to chow down and see if we’re up for the main course when Stellaris Nexus’ open beta kicks off tomorrow.

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