While Stellaris’ PC incarnation may not have had any specific news to share from PDXCon Remixed this past weekend, it is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Launched in 2016 – the same year as Hearts of Iron IV – the sci-fi grand strategy game struck new ground for Paradox by tackling 4X game concepts, as well as being the studio’s first foray into something that wasn’t historical.
During Stellaris’ five-year journey so far the strategy game has gone through some major revisions. With patch 2.0 and the Apocalypse expansion, warfare, conquest, and FTL changes dramatically changed the pace and foundations of the game. The 2.2 patch completely reworked planetary economics and population mechanics, and the changes that accompanied the most recent Nemesis expansion were so game-changing that the developers decided to skip a version number and proclaim a new era with patch 3.0.
We caught up with the dev team in the run up to PDXCon Remixed to get a sense of how they felt about the game at its five year anniversary. Older grand strategy games, such as Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV, faced increasing backlash against DLC packs and design decisions in the later stages, so we asked the dev team if they even wanted to go on for another five years. “We have so many different ways to expand,” Stephen Murray, Stellaris’ game designer told us. “Personally, yes, I would love another five years.”
We also asked if they would ever revisit past changes, especially as they learn more and figure out new ways to solve problems – the FTL changes, for example, partly came about because they were difficult to balance.
“If it improves the game, then I think we would consider it,” Murray told us. “One example is, how many times have we changed how empire sprawl works? We’re not done with that yet. I’m going to change it again at some point. Pop growth I’m not done with yet. There’s been a lot of very valuable feedback since 3.0, about that.
“If I can continue bringing interesting ways to bring new moments of wonder to the game, I’ll be really happy with that.”
Related: Check out our Stellaris DLC guide
In case you didn’t know, Victoria 3 was officially announced at PDXCon Remixed. The project is led by Martin ‘Wiz’ Anward, who was responsible for guiding Stellaris out of launch and into its’ 2.0 era.