We said in our review of Paradox's new 4X strategy game Stellaris that “the early game is packed full of personality, but it's squandered as the hours roll on.” Apparently we weren't the only ones to think so: In a developers diary posted today, Game Director Henrik Fåhraeus said he anticipated “a fair amount of criticism regarding the mid-game,” and acknowledged that “colony events,” a category that was “supposed to be the bread and butter of the mid-game for the Science Ships,” went neglected because "we simply took too long getting all the early and late game stuff in."
It won't stay that way, however. “For those of you who are unfamiliar with our post-release policies, we will release a lot of expansions over the coming years,” Fåhraeus explained. “Each expansion will be accompanied by a major update (for Stellaris, these free updates will be named after famous science fiction authors) containing a whole bunch of completely free upgrades and improvements to the game in addition to regular bug fixes. As long as enough players keep buying paid content for the game, we promise to keep improving the game for everyone, almost like an MMO.”
First up is the 1.1 update, code-named Clarke, that Paradox plans to roll out before the end of May. It will focus primarily on bug fixes and interface improvements, with improvements to the “End of Combat” summary, the Sector Management and Diplomacy GUIs, “fixes to the Ethic Divergence and Convergence issues”—a Paradox-sounding bug if ever there was one—and various other tweaks and fixes. More significant gameplay changes will come near the end of June, if all goes according to schedule, with the release of the Asimov update.
“As you might have guessed, we plan to add some new diplomatic actions and treaties [with Asimov],” Fåhraeus wrote. “Another thing that struck me during our discussions is that the normal lack of access to the space of other empires makes the game feel more constricted than intended. It limits your options since you can’t really interact much with the galaxy beyond the borders of your empire, and you only tend to concern yourself with your direct neighbors. This is bad for your Science Ships too, of course, since they might not be able to finish some of the grander 'quests.' Compare the situation with Europa Universalis, where you usually have access to the oceans and can thus reach most of the world, or Crusader Kings, where you can even move through neutral territory with your armies. We also intend to add as much mid-game scripted content as we can.”
Plans for a third update, named Heinlein, haven't been nailed down, but Fåhraeus said he currently expects that it will focus on improving political systems, an overhaul of the strategic resource system, changes to battleship class weapons and fleet combat mechanics, “living solar systems,” and the addition of even more mid-game scripted content.
“Again, remember that we need to be somewhat flexible when things don't work out or when something else takes priority, so please take these later plans with a large grain of salt,” he wrote. “As always, we also listen keenly to your feedback, so keep it coming!”