Endless Legend is Amplitude's fantasy follow up to Endless Space—replacing the surreal beauty of a tactically significant vacuum with vibrant terrain-filled hexagons. Amplitude are still writing this newest Legend, but they're almost finished. They've now announced that, as of September 18th, it will leave Steam Early Access for an official release.
PC Gamer's Magic Early Access 8-ball—or, in this case, Richard Cobbett—says the outlook for Galactic Civilizations III is good. Most promising is how, by dropping 32-bit support, the game can operate at a scale unreachable by its predecessor. An example of this was shown over the weekend, when Stardock designer Derek Paxton detailed a 100 faction game.
Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future.
Hexagons have never looked this good. Endless Legend paints a watercolor fantasy across its 4X strategy grid, and the pieces that fill those hexagons—distinct warring factions, indigenous races, fire trees and magical orbs and mysterious ruins—build a rich and deeply complex game world. Complexity is typically expected from 4X strategy games, but playing them before they're complete is not. And Endless Legend is definitely not complete.
At the Game Developers Conference in March I previewed Endless Legend, a fantasy 4X strategy game from Amplitude Studios that is now available on Steam Early Access. I wanted to spend more time talking to Amplitude's creative director, Romain de Waubert de Genlis (above right), about the recent resurgence of the 4X genre and the success of his previous game Endless Space. We decided to talk over lunch with another 4X designer, Daniel DiCicco (above left), who is working on a sequel to his indie success StarDrive. Over the course of an hour we discussed different approaches to 4X design, their all-time favorite 4Xs, what they think the genre is missing, and more.
It's a long, meaty conversation about one of the most complex corners of PC gaming. Read on to join us for lunch.
Welcome to Show Us Your Rig, a new feature where the PC gaming industry's best and brightest show us the systems they use to work and play.
Conifer Games' Jon Shafer requires a lot of information. As the lead designer on Civilization V, he's understandably used to having a lot of data to process—his civ's economic details or battle data from the front lines, perhaps. Lately, most of that information is the thousands of lines of code for his newest project, the upcoming 4X At The Gates. Still, we were surprised when Shafer told us that his setup for both programming and gaming requires four separate screens. For most people, that'd be information overload. For Shafer, it's just another work day.
There's irony in the fact that 4X games like Horizon are about forging forward into the future, but are always at least spiritually caught back in 1996, in the shadow of Master of Orion II. Horizon more than most is in that game's shadow. Its—being polite here—retro graphics, clunky UI, and general lack of polish set a poor first impression that never blossoms into something that lives up to either Master of Orion II, or other attempts, like the mighty GalCiv 2.
Our verdict on Space Pirates and Zombies (SPAZ), which mixes topdown shooter and 4X strategy elements, was that it had a cool idea that didn't quite live up to its potential. Announced today, SPAZ 2 seems like a much more serious effort to make good on the original's promise.
Sid Meier. Sid Meier. Sid Meier. If you say Sid Meier three times, well, he won't exactly pop out of your bathroom mirror, but at least you'll be prepared for seeing the name of one of PC gaming's developer grandmasters festooned across the newest offering from Humble Bundle which focuses on a selection of terrific turn-based strategy titles.
Two decades have passed since Stardock released its first game, Galactic Civilizations, and on the eve of the company’s 20th birthday, it’s unwrapping Galactic Civilizations III, a sequel to the game that put the studio on the map. Seven years after Galactic Civilizations 2, the follow-up is promising massive scale, moddability, and a redesigned ship builder alongside its trademark political intrigue. Joining Watch Dogs, it’ll also only run on 64-bit operating systems.
Space is endless. We knew that much, but it turns out legends are endless as well. Or rather, one Legend in particular, and probably not the one where Tom Cruise shares a curry with a guy named Tim (as is my understanding of the film). Not content with just one 4X strategy game, the Endless Space developers are back at it again, this time using those 4 Xs (eXplore, eXploit, eXpand and eXtreme) in a fantasy setting, with no spaceships or anything. You can see some hexy screenshots after the break.
As of the writing of this article, there is just over a day and a half left in the Kickstarter for At the Gates, the upcoming, Dark Ages 4X game from Civ V designer Jon Shafer. The team at Shafer's new studio, Conifer Games, has already demolished the original, $40,000 goal. Notable stretch goals already met include full mod support and two new factions. We caught up with Jon in a follow-up to our announcement interview to get his thoughts on how the campaign went, and what we can expect from At the Gates after it's funded.