Stellaris could very well be my most anticipated game of all time. It's Paradox doing that Paradox grand strategy thing of massive numbers of interlocking systems telling stories, only on an intergalactic scale. They're releasing weekly tidbits of information via developer diaries, and since I last caught up with them they've been talking about the various ways you can interact with species, your own, your enemies, forerunners and microbes.
Think hard about which of the best Strategy games to play before making your move.
You can read all the diaries on the official forums, or my rundown on some of them from a couple of months back. The focus of the last few has been on the various types of species that inhabit the galaxy and how you interact with them. They're broken into some broad groups:
- Pre-sentience - various animal or bacterial lifeforms that can be uplifted if so chosen, turning them into species your empire can use for specific tasks. Turn those mammoths into weapons platforms, those fungal growths into your worker class.
- Pre-FTL - further divided into ages of civilization, these are sentient beings that are not yet technologically advanced enough to head out into the stars and become an empire. They might be busy getting an industrial revolution going, working on the exact shape of the wheel or destroying each other with atomic age weapons. As a space-faring people you can decide how to analyse, experiment on or help them for your own gains.
- Fallen Empires - this is the other end of the spectrum. Intergalactic powerhouses that came long before the current age of the universe and have since fallen from grace. Forerunners, Progenitors, call them what you like, you're probably familiar with their basic story by now. Either by in-fighting, lethargy or other disaster they're massively technologically advanced but only take up a small part of the galaxy. They won't like you, because you're pond scum to them. It's your choice how to deal with them.
There's also been new information about how you can interact with your own citizens. Policies and Edicts were discussed, being larger and smaller decisions within your empire respectively. Policies might be attitudes on how you treat other races, or whether slavery is allowed within your borders, or whether you have a Prime Directive-style system for dealing with pre-FTL civilizations. Meanwhile Edicts are timed effects that can alter the way your whole civilization, or just a single planet, behave.
Because I am a ginormous, echoing nerd of a man, I find all this ludicrously exciting. I didn't know how much I wanted to give a planet nuclear weapons and see what happens until now, or abduct The Lizardmen of Grargh VII and find out how their natural armour works. From there I will, apparently, be able to genetically modify my own people, creating sub-species who will, inevitably, try to overthrow the unmodified. The possibilities are endless - I just hope Stellaris can live up to my imagination, though we still don't know when.