Strategy games and historical accuracy seem to go hand in hand. Europa Universalis is perhaps the best example, or maybe Age of Empires or Crusader Kings. But what if there was a middle ground, a hybrid game that blends realism and history with the more fantastical and imaginative elements of a Stellaris or a Frostpunk? Published by Paradox, the renowned strategy studio known for EU4, Hearts of Iron, and for publishing Cities Skylines 2, a new 4X game blends fact and fiction into something totally inventive. A possible rival to the gargantuan Civilization 6, Paradox’s latest – developed by C Prompt – is finally playable for the first time thanks to a demo at Steam Next Fest.
This is Millennia, a gigantic 4X game with a smart twist. On the surface, it’s everything you might anticipate. You begin in the Stone Age, build towns and cities to increase your production output, and gradually claim territory by ways of diplomacy, culture, or military might. In-depth and highly detailed, Millennia is certainly designed for the 4X familiar – your years in Civilization, Stellaris, and Age of Wonders will pay dividends here, as you encounter Millennia’s highly intricate management and development tools.
But that’s only the beginning. The longer you play Millennia, the more unique it becomes compared to its genre rivals. See, although you begin the Stone Age, and have the option to progress into the historically accurate Bronze Age, Iron Age, and beyond, Millennia is a little more playful when it comes to the timeline. Let’s take health, for example. If your population is struggling for food, medical care, and proper provisions, you might hit a negative parameter that triggers an entirely different age – The Age of Plague. Likewise, if you or any of your rival civilizations are particularly warmongering, and the planet is engulfed in conflict, you’ll arrive into The Age of Blood.
Different technologies, units, and political options may present themselves as you activate these aberrant new eras, which become increasingly imaginative. Tired of the same old 19th century and want something new? How about The Age of Steampunk? Want to move your entire civilization to live in the clouds, or maybe go all Rapture and set up under the sea? Bring on the Age of Aether, or the Age of Utopia.
An intelligent spin on the 4X formula, if you want to try Millennia for yourself, the first-ever demo is available right now as part of Steam Next Fest – just head here. You can play through three full ages, beginning at the very dawn of human history as you establish your capital, construct your first units, and begin researching the technologies that will shape your society. We’re still waiting on a precise release date, but Millennia is scheduled to launch at some point in 2024.