The sci-fi strategy game Stellaris has progressed considerably since it released in 2016, and now occupies positions on our lists of the best space games and best strategy games. It's no surprise, then, that Paradox is making another one, called Stellaris: Galaxy Command. What is surprising is that it's not coming to PC.
From how it's described, Stellaris: Galaxy Command seems to be a free-to-play mobile MMO. You're put in control of a space station in a "persistent, player-driven world" that's been devastated by an alien invasion from another dimension. The attack was ultimately defeated, but "the war was not won alone" and apparently the recovery process won't be a solo endeavor either: "It will be up to the players to make alliances, negotiate and directly impact each others’ recoveries in this unique Stellaris adventure," Paradox says.
Beyond that you'll also need to rebuild and expand your empire, impose taxes and negotiate trade alliances, and reconstruct and rearm your military forces. Your actions will have "real consequences" for other players, as will the ethical underpinnings of your resurgent empire, which will be determined by the choices and actions you make as you retake your place of glory among the stars.
Paradox says that Stellaris: Galaxy Command is "an authentic Stellaris experience," though one that's designed to be played in short sessions rather than 17 hours at a time, like most Paradox games. "You can check on your station, fleet, and alliance throughout the day," it said. "Make sure your station is constantly researching and expanding and your fleet is building up and rearming to deal with new threats."
The Google Play listing goes into a little more depth on what it's all about, and it certainly sounds ambitious, with gameplay built around trading systems, ethics, and political systems. Players will be able to form or join alliances and Trade Networks, recruit elite admirals to head their fleets, customize and upgrade their ships, and take part in deep-space battles that will unfold in real time.
It isn't clear exactly how many players will be lumped together in the same universe, but at least "thousands of players play in a single galaxy with nearly a thousands star systems to explore," the listing says. "Declare 'cold' or conventional war and claim victory through economic strength or brute military force. Convene with allies to form an attack strategy, then wage war on other players across the universe."
It almost sounds like a free-to-play mobile take on EVE Online. Unfortunately, the game is currently offline (such is the way with soft-launched betas), but I sat through the long intro sequence before getting the "offline" message, and it at least looked impressive. Unfortunately, the game may remain offline for awhile, as Paradox explained that it was taken down due to the presence of artwork that was used without permission.
Stellaris: Galaxy Command players. We have an important statement for you, regarding the current suspension of our game's servers. pic.twitter.com/F8Way6ar9aOctober 15, 2019
It's interesting to see a company that built its reputation on complex, desktop strategy games like Crusader Kings and Hearts of Iron moving into the mobile realm, where playtimes are typically measured in minutes rather than hours. It's a big step, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see other Paradox games making the same transition if this one is successful.
The Stellaris: Galaxy Command beta is available now on Android and iOS devices, but for the time being only to players in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Sweden. Registration links and other details are available at galaxycommand.stellaris.com.