Stellaris [official site], Paradox's sci-fi fusion of 4x design and grand strategy ideals, is a game that generates stories. As your species moves through the galaxy, encountering all manner of alien life, you'll create tiny tales and epic sagas. There are also stories already written, however, in the form of quest chains, and over the weekend we learned that one of the minds behind Fallen London and Sunless Sea will be adding to those space-stories. Alexis Kennedy, co-founder and formerly creative director of Failbetter Games, is now crafting word-shapes for Stellaris.
Kennedy left Failbetter earlier this year and will be devoting his time to freelance writing and work on his own projects. The first example of the latter is already available, though Kennedy "hesitates to call it a game". It's called Cultist Simulator and here's a brief description:
CULTIST SIMULATOR is a narrative crafting game by me, Alexis Kennedy (Fallen London, Sunless Sea, Dragon Age: the Last Court). It’s set in the NOON world.
These things number among its influences: ADARKROOM, Doodle God, the Kittens Game, Lord Dunsany, CS Lewis, Ars Magica, the Secret Knots, and of course the inconsolable, inevitable, HP Lovecraft.
You can play with a prototype here.
The work on Stellaris will concentrate on mid-game content. That Kennedy is contributing makes me hopeful that the galaxy will be weirder and more wonderful than ever come the next major update. When it comes to dream combinations, Sunless Sea meets Stellaris is fairly high on my list. Macabre horrors and humour are always welcome. Here's what Kennedy had to say on his personal blog:
When I was deciding whether to leave Failbetter or not, I took a week’s holiday to think about it. Paradox’s Stellaris had just launched, and I put forty hours straight into its maw, one after another.
So I was very chuffed to end up talking to Paradox about doing some guest writing. As you probably know, Paradox are all about the post-launch support on their games, and I can now announce that I’m going to be writing a chunk of mid-game content for Stellaris, starting in September. This is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to be doing when I started out ronin-ing; thank you to the Stellaris team for making it happen!
Roll on the Fallen Stars and the Sunless Systems.