Yes, that is an armoured space bear from the future. How would you like to open up diplomatic relations with that bear? Quite a lot I bet. How would you like to do it as the commander of a race of space-faring creatures in a new 4X strategy game? Well, then you might be interested in the successfully kickstarted StarDrive, created by a small indie team called Zer0sum games.
It's got your traditional mix of army building and planetary colonisation, backed up by a deep ship-building system that lets you drag and drop dozens of modules, turrets, armour and propulsion onto custom templates. You can control your capital ship directly, but you can also direct the rest of your fleets, RTS style, in hands-on close combat scenarios that behave more like AI War than the more removed systems of Endless Space and Galactic Civilisations 2.
According to comments on StarDrive's Desura page , "the game is currently slated to open up for pre-orders on Steam in January, 2013," and "pre-ordering on Steam will grant access to the beta." A full release is planned shortly thereafter. Head over to the StarDrive site for more and get a proper look in the videos below.