Galactic Civilizations 3 trailer appears ahead of this week's alpha release

There's a good chance you've seen a game trailer before. Inevitably it will have featured: a) some explosions, b) mild peril, and c) a soundtrack that honks like a steamboat fighting Aphex Twin. None of which is really possible when demoing a 4X strategy. Galactic Civilizations 3 is further handicapped by being set in space, meaning it can't even flash a bit of tantalising terrain at the viewer. Nevertheless, the follow up to the excellent GalCiv 2 is unveiling its first footage, and, if you're of the right frame of mind, it's still pretty sexy.

The Stardock space strategy will launch on Steam Early Access this Thursday, 27th March. But even if you're a 4X fan, the team are urging caution on jumping on at the alpha stage. "I want to use this post as a way to set people's expectations," Stardock CEO Brad Wardell wrote in a recent forum post , "and, if anything, use this as a public service announcement that you should NOT join the Founder's program if your goal is to play a video game for fun early."

Wardell clarified the state of the alpha, saying, "it's nothing that would remotely resemble a 'fun' experience. The fact it works at all is a miracle and only the most basic features are working. Internally this stage means the art pipeline is now working (that is, you can get new art assets into the game) and the underlying engine is functioning. In my mind, the threshold that makes something an alpha is that it is possible to win (or lose) the game. That doesn't mean it's fun. Most of the features won't be in."

Still, the possibility of more GalCiv is an exciting prospect, whatever the state it's in. After all, its predecessor produced plenty of scope for decisions , drama and destruction .

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.