Well folks, another year has come to an end. We’ve had an amazing time, full of surprises – and some disappointments. As has become eXplorminate tradition, it’s time to take a look at what we’re looking forward to in the upcoming year. Last year’s list turned out to be pretty prescient, promising an epic year of 4X goodness. Now, as we wrap up 2016, here is a list of upcoming games and where they are in their development to get you excited for 2017:
Endless Space 2 – Amplitude’s most ambitious project to date. ES2 looks to improve upon Endless Legend and Endless Space 1. ES2, will expand on the missing or underdeveloped systems in ES1 such as: Diplomacy, Economy, Internal Politics, Exploration, and quests. Keep an eye on this one folks. The game is available in Early Access, and we’re beyond excited to see how it turns out.
Galactic Civilizations 3: Crusade – With Brad Wardell at the steering wheel – and the original producer and whip-cracker Cari “elf” Begel by his side – Crusade looks to do for GalCiv3 what Dread Lords did for GalCiv2. We have high hopes for this because GalCiv2 is a favorite of Nate and Gwydion.
Stars in Shadow – We’ve been watching Ashdar Games’ Stars in Shadow with keen interest, especially since it made the leap from closed beta to Early Access. The game aims to provide deep, turn-based, tactical combat as its killer app. It couples this with relatively streamlined empire management mechanics and a striking, novel aesthetic style. This is definitely a game to watch (or, if you want, jump into the Early Access ring).
Lord of Rigel – Despite falling short of their Kickstarter timeline, Rhombus Studios is pressing onwards with development of Lord of Rigel. LoR has seen some big changes in the past months, including a full overhaul of its tactical combat (it’s now real time rather than turn-based). But the developers have left in place the game’s exceptional backstory and emphasis on the cold war between its resident abusive precursors.
Dawn of Andromeda – A new space 4X brought to you by the developer that created Lords of the Black Sun, a disastrous game at best. DoA is looking to fix all of that by creating a 4X/RTS hybrid set in the Andromeda sector. Our early dives into this title have been very promising.
Dominus Galaxia – A tribute to Master of Orion I in a field awash with Master of Orion II clones, Dominus Galaxia has been on our radar for quite some time. The small team behind DG has been making steady progress, and Alexander Stumpp a.k.a. AiL (well known for his AI mod for Pandora) is hard at work developing a killer AI.
Stellaris Expansion – We expect the next major iteration of this title will look to expand on what’s already there. Will they add pre-determined species to drive the narrative? How about espionage? Fixing the sectors system? Who knows, but we anticipate this title will have a long shelf life.
Project Space Sector – Brought to you by the team that ran the website Space Sector, this appears to be another Master of Orion II spiritual successor. Not much is known about the game at this time, although they have begun releasing developer diaries.
Oriental Empires – Oriental Empires is a somewhat different take on 4X from the developer behind many of the Total War games and Armada 2526. With some unusual mechanics and a fresh angle, this could be a real sleeper if they can iron out the kinks during Early Access.
Alliance of the Sacred Suns – It feels like every 4X game these days promises “high-level empire management” and “not caring about the details.” Alliance of the Sacred Suns appears to be one of the rare games that actually delivers on these promises. Gameplay revolves heavily around managing notable people, great houses, and edicts rather than focusing on build queues and worker optimization. Think Crusader Kings II meets Dune – then consider for a moment how utterly awesome that sounds.
Space Battle Core – After being driven from Earth by a technologically superior alien force, humanity adjusts to life on the run. A hybrid 4X made of turn based combat and real time exploration, BSC looks to bring some unique gameplay to the mix.
Children of the Galaxy – Just recently Greenlit for Steam, CotG is a 2D space 4X game along the lines of GalCiv3. Current plans call for it to have 8 factions at launch with each getting 11 unique ships. Combat will be handled on a 2D tactical battleboard and will be turn-based. The developer also hopes to include support for modding, an AI editor, and online multiplayer.
Descendants: Voidborne – Voidborne is a quick play mashup of XCOM and Civilization. Games should only take one to two hours to complete and put a lot of emphasis on combat. The most interesting aspect of this game is that it will feature a persistent online world. Yep, it’s like a MOBA for strategy games, and players’ actions will have a lasting impact on the galaxy.
Driftland – Driftland: The Magic Revival is like a next-generation Eador: Master of the Broken World. It’s a real-time 4X game that spans multiple floating islands chock full of monsters and resources set in a beautiful ethereal landscape. This game will feature single player, campaign, and multiplayer modes
Predestination – The Irish team behind Predestination hopes to capture the true spirit of Master of Orion 2. Already in late early access, Predestination features a real 3D map, turn-based tactical combat, 6 different factions, and an advanced 3D ship editor. Predestination has spent several years in development following a successful Kickstarter. 2017 may finally be the year we get to see it finished.
Remnants of the Precursors – Remnants of the Precursors is a labor of love and an homage to the original Master of Orion (yes, the first one). RotP is essentially an HD relaunch of MoO, with some major improvements to interface and AI. Developer Ray Fowler expects to launch a playable second alpha in 2017.
Space Tyrant – Play as the scourge of the galaxy, slashing and burning your way to success. Build terrifying fleets with the sole purpose of conquest and grabbing take-out food. Crush those who won’t fight back. Can the Galactic Order put a stop to your rampaging ways? ST is a 4X roguelike set in a grimdark future. Sounds interesting.
Eador: Imperium – Imperium is a standalone expansion set in the Eador: Masters of the Broken World universe. This 4X-hybrid with RPG and Grand Strategy elements was one of the more innovative 4X fantasy games to come out in the past few years. Unfortunately, the game’s not a simple affair, and many bounced off of it. Imperium looks to fix all of that with streamlined gameplay, new heroes, new units, a new single-player campaign and more.
GalaCollider – Is a 4X strategy, deck-building game set on an ever-evolving star map.
Nearing an open Beta release, the Alpha5 build of GalaCollider has seen many UI upgrades, improved graphics, roll-over tips, a 2D/3D toggle mode, and, most recently, a UI for zooming in on battles. The developers plan on increasing the multiplayer mode to 8 or more players, adding tablet support (android and iOS), ongoing campaigns, monthly achievements, map builders, custom skins, and more!
Sovereignty: Crown Of Kings – Set in a fantasy world populated by Orcs, Goblins, Dwarves, Elves, and many others. You are tasked with repairing or replacing a crumbling old empire. You’ll compete with others through diplomacy, espionage, expansion and – you guessed it – conquest. Available for purchase on 2/2/2017
Unannounced Games and Expansions
Civ 6 Expansion – Firaxis hasn’t announced plans for an expansion to Sid Meier’s Civilization VI. But they just added Poland and we do know there will be at least three more DLCs. Judging by franchise history, we can expect to see at least one expansion adding a host of new features and, of course, new civs.
Coming in ????
M.O.R.E. – A Many years in development, several scant updates, and nothing new to show. Is it vaporware?
At the Gates – Not too much information from Jon Shafer of late, or updates for that matter. Is it vaporware?
Deep Space Settlements – The developer is taking on other work to help fund this title. Is it vaporware?
Stars Beyond Reach – Despite a lot of progress on this title in the past few years, Stars Beyond Reach has been put into cryogenic sleep for the time being. Financial trouble at Arcen Games prompted them to halt most of their projects to focus on a Kickstarter campaign for AI War II. The game seems to be hanging in limbo at the moment; we hope Arcen can pull off its course correction, as SBR’s unique blend of 4X, simulation, and city-builder make it an intriguing prospect. Is it vaporware or coming in 2018?
That Which Sleeps -They were pretty active in the last few months on their Kickstarter, so we imagined it’s not puffed just yet. But at the end of December, the development team split up and development is back to a single person. Will it end up as vaporware?
Well folks, it looks like that’s it. We’re sure more will pop-up in the future, and if you find any that we’ve missed, do not hesitate to add them to the comments section of this article. We here at eXplorminate wish you all, fans and developers alike, a Happy Holiday Season.
– The eXplorminate Staff