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Think Crusader Kings — but in space.

Strategy game publisher Paradox Interactive returns to the stars today with the announcement of Stellaris, a space exploration title for the PC. It’s company’s first project set outside of Earth’s cradle since 2014’s real-time strategy release, Ancient Space.

The stars haven’t treated Paradox well in recent years. Ancient Space met with lackluster reviews and is a forgettable game. It published the disastrous Sword of the Stars II in 2011, a game that I called “a hot mess” when it debuted. But neither of these are grand strategy games. And neither are products of Paradox’s design studio. Stellaris is. It comes from the team that designed both Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis. Studio director Henrik Fåhraeus, who worked on both games, is in charge, a Paradox spokesperson told GamesBeat last week.

It differs from Galactic Civilizations, Endless Space, and other 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) games thanks to an emphasis on exploration and diplomacy. Like Crusader Kings, Stellaris also makes use of Paradox’s “emergent storytelling” that comes from how individual playthroughs develop over time, and star systems are procedurally generated, so each playthough gives you a new galactic playground. Your growth may focus more on finding resources or alien knowledge than manning your lasers and researching superweapons. This sort of gameplay has become a hallmark of the Nordic publisher’s take on strategy games. The spokesperson also said it would have dynamic events, similar to Crusader Kings II.


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Stellaris also comes with a ship editor — though here, in another nod to exploration over conflict, you can tinker not only with military craft but civilian vessels as well. You can also play a range of different races — and meet many others. Individual scientists can go out and explore the galaxy.

Paradox did not give a release date.

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