4X RTS Sins of a Solar Empire 2 is finally coming to Steam this summer with a new faction and modding tools

Update: Publisher Stardock has clarified that Sins of a Solar Empire 2 is an "ongoing service" rather than an early access game now. This does feel a bit like a matter of semantics, though, given that the Advent faction is still to come and the game is yet to be put in the hands of reviewers. Stardock CEO Brad Wardell notes, however, that the goal was to leave early access when it had as much or more content than the original game at launch—a milestone he says was achieved last year. 

"Our goal on Epic was to release Sins of a Solar Empire 2 1.0 with the same or more content as the original release of Sins of a Solar Empire 1.0," says Wardell. "Once we hit that milestone in early 2023, we turned off the early access flag and began working on what amounts to Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion feature/content parity which we will reach this summer and is the version being released onto Steam and as part of a massive free update for Epic users. We are aware that most people who have played Sins of a Solar Empire think of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion as the definitive version which is why we have waited until we had reached that level of content to begin our larger public awareness campaign."

Original story: I was beyond excited when I chatted to developer Ironclad about the imminent arrival of Sins of a Solar Empire 2 back in 2022. With its simulated celestial mechanics and modular ship design, it sounded like a significant step up from its brilliant predecessor. But like so many in-development games that launch exclusively on the Epic Games Store, it soon left my brain. Even with all its discoverability issues, Steam simply makes it easier to keep track of games. So it's good news, then, that Sins of a Solar Empire 2's exclusivity is coming to an end, heralding its arrival on Steam this summer. 

Worth emphasising is the fact that Sins of a Solar Empire 2 is effectively in early access. This isn't remotely clear from the Epic page, nor its Steam page, where you could be forgiven for assuming the game is complete. That said, the Steam launch will come with a bunch of new features. 

  • The Advent Unity faction, including two sub-factions: the Advent Reformation faction and the Advent Reckoning faction.
  • Updated VO and dynamic music that's specific to factions.
  • The official release of modding tools.
  • A visual UI refresh that lets you select custom UI themes tailored to each major faction. 
  • Enhanced AI, taking advantage of more advanced strategies, scheming against you and making diplomatic offers.
  • A damage FX system that makes combat damage visible on large units and structures.
  • More environments, planets and maps.

That's what's new for the Steam release, but more broadly Sins of a Solar Empire 2 introduces a whole heap of new things that make it quite a bit different from the original game. 

The aforementioned celestial mechanics simulation is the one that made me most excited. Planets don't have a fixed position, you see, instead orbiting their stars at different speeds, altering the map continually. Depending on a planet's position, then, it might be easier or more challenging to conquer, forcing you to tweak your plans on the fly. 

Ship combat has a more sim-like element, too, where ships have turrets that acquire targets, move and fire in real-time, and they act independently rather than all of them having the same firing solutions. Missiles are also physically simulated, and you can use tougher ships to move in front of weaker ones to body block the projectiles, as well as using their point defence turrets, which spin around and try to track and destroy any threats. 

You'll be able to check all of this out on Steam this summer, though we're still waiting for a specific date. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.