Stardock To Embark On A Galactic Crusade!


Are you ready to embark on a Crusade? Yesterday, Stardock announced the next evolution for Galactic Civilizations III, a new expansion called Crusade. While the announcement isn’t a surprise – Stardock have been hyping it for a while – it’s still an expansion we’ve been excited to get our hands on.

We asked Brad Wardell what he plans to do with Galactic Civilizations III –

“As you know, I joined the GalCiv III team in November [2016] and since then we have released 1.9 and 2.0. Now, it’s time for the first major expansion pack since my reign of terror has begun.


I was not super happy with GalCiv III when it first launched. It was a very good game (and some people seem to forget that it received pretty universal praise). The problem I, and others (and you) had with it was that it played it too safe.  

Much of that safeness was due to the game being rewritten from scratch. This is no small task.  Most non-developers don’t realize that games are written on top of game engines (Unity, Unreal, etc.). Paradox (who are our friends and was our publishing partner in Europe for GalCiv II) have an amazing engine called Clausewitz. This is what they build their games on.

Fredrik [Wester] over at Paradox would be a better person to talk to about Clausewitz but when they released 1.0 back in 2007 with Europa Universalis III, that was a big turning point for Paradox as it represented a huge upgrade in their game capabilities that has continued into Stellaris.

Stardock’s engine for years was called Kumquat which itself derived from Pear which came out in 1997. So as you can imagine, it was pretty long in the tooth.

With GalCiv III, a new engine, which we internally call Kumquat 2 (because we’re boring) but generally refer to as Galactic is a totally new, 64-bit, multi-core, DirectX 11 engine. But it meant throwing out decades of code which was very painful. Thus, GalCiv III had to reinvent everything it had already done and so they went pretty safe on the design side.”

“Am I late to the party?”

We then asked about what he wanted to change about GC3 –

“Now, when we’ve talked in the past and I mentioned my 4 main bugaboos with GalCiv III:

  1. I wanted to have a more interesting economic system.
  2. I wanted invasions to be more strategic
  3. I wanted to be able to play as an espionage player
  4. I wanted more tools to make custom civs to play as or against.

There’s a lot more to Crusade than that. A lot more. In the old days, this would be a sequel. But it matters a lot to me that people remember GalCiv III as being awesome.”

“Sure, let’s trade”

According to Stardock, Crusade will be the largest expansion they’ve ever made for any of their games – quite a claim considering their long history. The new expansion offers several features that GC3 fans have been clamoring for including:

  • A revamped invasion system where players can train ground troops to take over enemy planets tile by tile
  • A new espionage system introduces spies that can steal technologies, circulate rumors to create civil unrest, sabotage enemy worlds, or even go so far as to assassinate enemy citizens
  • Galactic citizens, talented members of your population who can be one of over a dozen unique roles to help your civilization be exceptional
  • A new custom faction builder
  • New races including the Terran Resistance, the asteroid-based Onyx Hive, and cybernetic space amoebas (seriously folks, we don’t make these things up, just report them) known as the Slyne
  • New story based campaign centering around a powerful “bane” artifact the humans have found in a pocket universe
  • In addition, there are new mercenaries to hire, custom starbases to build, a reworked tech tree to explore, and new events and an improved UI to improve your overall experience

For more details, you can check out the announcement on Steam.

Let’s play Civilization, Space Civilization…

Stardock says to expect Crusade sometime this Spring for just $20. Between now and the release date they are going to do weekly Developer Diaries to keep the community up to date. Check out the first one here! Also, be sure to keep visiting eXplorminate as the weather warms up!

14 thoughts on “Stardock To Embark On A Galactic Crusade!

    1. Not going to happen, unless this is a secret feature. Brad is not into tactical combat. Never really has been. As tactical as it get is the Sorcerer King series, and if you’ve played those, you’d understand what I mean.


      1. I know, played almost any Stardock game since the first GalCiv2. I was hoping since Fallen Entchantress, where you had customization and tactical combat. Not AoW Level, but at least some.
        With GalCiv3 it just pains me, the incredible potential, at least visually, of the ship designer to the dull and boring combats. If they just would be visually more appealing and the RPS system not so darn punishing. Just simple placement and basic behavior commands, similar to gratuitous space battles would improve it tremendously for me. But yeah, just my opinion, I’m curious if Crusade brings enough new stuff to the game that it can catch me for some time.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Agree 100% Fimbul. I’m all for full tactical but if they don’t want to go that route then at least give us some means to manage combat on a case by case basis. I’m not touching GalCiv3 until combat gets some TLC and more depth other than the RPS crap they’ve got now. Also, I’ve NEVER understood the emphasis they but on the (admittedly impressive) ship designer while most of the game play elements around ships are either generic, lackluster, or just plain bad. Its like eating 10 day old leftovers with gold-plated utensils and fine china.

    I’d also like to direct your attention to two posts I found on the GalCiv 3 forums. The first is from 2014 and is from Brad himself. It implies that they intended for combat to have some sort of setup options but I’m guessing it didn’t get implemented because they were trying to get 1.0 the door. Open the link and scroll up to Brad’s reply:;3439753

    The second post was from 2015 when Brad laid out a roadmap of sorts for the long-term future of GalCiv 3. One of the bullet points he mentioned was Combat Control though its uncertain what form that will take:

    As an aside, I’ve followed GalCiv III ever since it was announced and I get the distinct impression that A LOT of stuff they had planned for their 1.0 release either got dropped or has been pushed back to the patches and expansions. One one hand I sincerely applaud Stardock for their incredible support of the game but on the other hand I also felt like the game has needed that further development and support to bring up to what should have been 1.0 standards.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tactical Human Controlled Battles takes away from the strategical part in any game. I think the space games with it sucks. I prefer GalCiv, ES and stellaris. The rest of them I don’t waste my time on, but it’s alternatives for you tactical battles lads. Just don’t think you can ruin these more strategical gems with these AI-wrecking, childish and boring tactical battles.


    1. Just checking, your main issue with tactical combat is that the AI performs poorly in them? Which then means the human player can dominate a superior opponent with inferior forces?

      If so, would tactical combat be acceptable to you if implemented in such a way that the AI actually performed well?


      1. No, it’s not OK. It takes the attention away from strategical play. I want to use 100% of the gametime to be about strategy, not 50% strategy/50% tactics.


  3. Most games have autocombat, even AoW3! It’s quite simple and similar of min/maxing your colonies, some do it, some not. Often it needs a bit different setup of the fleets, but works mostly well.
    For you they could get rid of the ship designer completly, as it distracts of the strategy part even more.


  4. I’ve mixed feelings about GalCiv3’s combat. Although I want the major focus to be on the strategic layer and mainly want to see features that would enhance that aspect of the game, nonetheless I think it would be a shame if Stardock didn’t make some improvements to combat. At the very least they should spruce up the clunky old battle viewer.

    Given the popularity of the ship designer, a full-blown battle arena mode would be a nice addition… For goodness sake, why not allow folks who spend all that time designing those amazing ships to jump straight into throwing fleets together? The way it is now, it’s a bit like giving a kid a giant box of legos but insisting he/she keep their awesome creations on a shelf, except for a few minutes per day when they are allowed to take them down and play. :*( Personally I’ve barely touched the designer because the work/reward ratio is terrible.


  5. I’m undecided on GalCiv’s hands-off combat. Ideally, I don’t *really* want to spend all my time doing tactical combat, but I would like to be able to define roles (based on various criteria – preferred engagement range, target priorities, special directives like ship capture or “don’t get hurt”) and then let a decent AI admiral run things and be able to play/pause/rewind the combat, with all ship stats tracked at all times so I can mouseover stuff to see how its doing.

    Space Empires 5 did it right. Really right. It’s a shame that good chunks of the game (again IMHO) went backwards from 4 and it doesn’t play worth !@#(* in Windows 7 and Malfador is probably never going to fix it.


  6. Ahh, Space Empires! Space Empires II was my first 4x. Got it on a floppy disk back in 1995 after playing the crap out of the shareware version. Now that is a game that I’d like to see given a proper 2017 treatment.


  7. AoW3 is an example of a game not for me. I like tactical human controlled in fantasy 4X, since it has more excotic units then in Space strategies and because of Magic and RPG heroes it can be fun, but not when Tactics becomes 75% of the game. FE:Legendary Heroes I like, but there the tactical part is arround 25% of the game I’d say. I have never been a fan of tactical combat in Space 4X so far at least.



Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s