When it comes to the biggest grand strategy games, Stellaris has to be up there on sheer scale alone. The interstellar adventure puts you in charge of your own empire of weird and wonderful space creatures, and you can try it for free right now as part of a big Steam sale offer. It comes from developer Paradox, who also make the likes of Crusader Kings 3, Victoria 3, Europa Universalis 4, and Age of Wonders 4 – so it’s safe to say that they’re masters of the format, and Stellaris is one of their best.
This sci-fi strategy game spectacular gives you the choice between a selection of pre-built empires, many of which are inspired by classic science fiction, or sets you free with its custom creator that has you defining your civilization’s origins along with its various strengths and weaknesses, with options such as pacifism, having a natural wariness of other species, or being worshippers who find the divine in technology.
There’s a ton of depth in the base game, and the rich customization options mean that you’ll find yourself telling a completely unique story with every fresh playthrough you start, one that evolves over the course of your journey across the stars. If you’re looking for even more options, however, there’s no shortage of add-ons available, so you’ll have plenty to choose from.
Stellaris Steam sale
Stellaris is free to play on Steam through June 26, 2023. You can also buy it for 75% off until June 26 – expect to pay $9.99 / £8.74 for the base edition, or $12.49 / £10.49 for the Galaxy Edition, which includes an exclusive alien race, a signed wallpaper, a Stellaris novel, the digital collector’s book, and the game’s original soundtrack.
If you want to invest even more heavily in the game’s numerous expansions and add-ons, the Stellaris Starter Pack is 64% off ($35.95 / £30.57), while the comprehensive Stellaris Ultimate Bundle is 53% off ($119.76 / £101.05). You can find all the Stellaris deals right here. Alternatively, if you’d really rather keep your feet on solid ground, you could dip into Paradox’s Renaissance-era Europa Universalis 4, which is itself 65% off right now (that’s $13.99 / £12.24) until June 29.
There’s even better news with a subscription to Microsoft’s PC Game Pass, because Stellaris is playable for free as part of the included game library. You won’t get all the add-ons included, but can upgrade at a discount as a Game Pass subscriber if you’d rather play there than on Steam.
Take a look through our Stellaris DLC guide if you’re trying to decide what to plump for, or check out our picks of the best Stellaris mods if you decide it’s time to start your new adventure in space.