Stellaris delivers intergalactic space exploration and diplomacy to Steam May 9

Fans of 4X strategy games looking for their next grand adventure won't have much longer to wait. Paradox has been working on Stellaris for some time, and that hard work is about to pay off. A new, full length trailer for the strategy title has blasted off into the intergalactic habitat known as the Internet that reveals a May 9 release date. Many of you are likely wondering just what Stellaris is, so let's get right into it.

In Stellaris, you control your own empire, for better or for worse. Much like in Civilization, you'll have choices to make about what your scientists should re search, what your citizens should focus on producing, and handling intergalactic affairs with other rulers. Yes, intergalactic. Stellaris takes a Star Wars-like approach to each of your games, involving entire galaxies but without citizens whispering for fear of being overheard by agents of the Empire or First Order. Each ruler has his or her own ambitions ranging from wanting total domination of the galaxy or just being the most technologically advanced civilization. Warmongering civilizations won't hesitate to invade your sector of the galaxy if you don't keep your technology and military up to date, so even the most peace loving players will have to keep a well oiled galactic war machine at the ready.

You'll have some choices to make from the very beginning of a new Stellaris game that will impact how your civilization can interact with others. Through the Policies and Edicts system, you can determine how your citizens will react to other civilizations. Policies affect your whole empire and stay active until you change them directly or if there's enough demand from internal political factions. These policies have far reaching effects that impact not only your military's options and strategy, but how your population acts as well. You can control how your population migrates from planet to planet through policies and even decide how your empire feels about slavery. Edicts are essentially short term versions of policies. An edict can affect a single planet or your entire empire, but generally have a cost of some sort associated with it. Edicts are useful for instant or short term goals, while policies have a broader impact. Of course, there are extra communication difficulties that come with maintaining an entire portion of the galaxy, so you'll have to wait a minimum amount of time before changing your stance on policy issues.

Of course, it wouldn't be a grand strategy game without having to deal with civilizations not quite as advanced as we are. Much like the Barbarians in Civilization, Stellaris features primitive civilizations that will fall into either the pre-industrial or industrial categories. Within those categories are varying levels of classification, giving you a sense of how long it might take them to reach your own level of technology. There are a number of ways to deal with these civilizations, ranging from an outright invasion to sharing your own technology with them. Other empires have their own ideas of how to handle these systems, so don't be taken by surprise if they don't approve of claiming a world for your own. If the inhabitants of less advanced worlds intrigue you, observation posts are an option. Empires can either passively observe a primitive civilization from their post in high orbit or they can choose a more aggressive method. Aggressive observation will have your scientists in the observation post abducting unsuspecting victims to perform scientific experiments in order to learn more about them. There's also the more subtle covert infiltration method. Like the old fashioned boots on the ground tactic, the planet will still come under your rule. Covert infiltration takes more time, but there's less cleanup involved afterwards because the system's population will believe they accepted your dominion over them willingly. More generous empires may choose the final route of technological enlightenment. This method will eventually bring a world up to your level of technology. How long this method takes will depend on the planet's starting point, but they will become a protectorate of the empire that guided their technological advancement when they're able to explore the vast reaches of space without help.

Be prepared to take your place among the stars as Stellaris blasts you into the future to rule a galactic empire of your very own. Stellaris is available for pre-order now on Steam and will blast off starting May 9, giving our primitive home world a grand strategy experience that will surely keep players hooked. As with most strategy games, how you reach your goal of victory is up to you, but Stellaris offers no shortage of options in reaching that illustrious goal.

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