The genre of 4X games has benefited greatly in the past few years due to the advancement of technology. This has allowed developers to create massive galaxies to explore and conquer, huge space battles and truly massive tech trees. Such features ensure hundreds of hours can be spent on one playthrough.
The success of Paradox Interactive’s game Stellaris is proof there is indeed a demand for such games. Other than Stellaris, though, what 4X games can we look forward to?
There are many indie developers involved in 4X, whereas few AAA developers are willing to invest in such a niche genre.
The pioneer title of real time 4X was Stardock Entertainment’s Sins of a Solar Empire, released in 2008. This game was lucrative for the company, and still is even years later.
Stardock has released plenty of DLC for Sins of a Solar Empire. Unfortunately, they’re too tied up salvaging the disaster that was Ashes of the Singularity to release a sequel, which would likely provoke an explosion in the genre.
If not a Sins sequel, then what?
Greywolf Entertainment’s Dawn of Andromeda looks promising. The game will ostensibly have a slew of features common to most good 4X games. They include diplomacy, an intuitive U.I to cut down on micromanagement, many different factions to choose from, and different victory conditions. Victory conditions are especially important in any 4X game, as there shouldn’t be just one way to win.
This mechanic is something Paradox should value more. Stellaris is a great first attempt at the 4X genre, but Paradox of all developers should have included multiple win conditions. While war is fun and all, 4X fans enjoy the complexity of diplomacy, and the ability to exercise it in many different fashions.
Technological advancement is also important in 4X games, as most campaigns will cover thousands of years. Advancement of your civilization is expected, both naturally and to gain an advantage on your opponents.
Dawn of Andromeda will have no shortage of technological options, along with something the developers are calling ‘Eras’. These ‘Eras’ allow for an asymmetrical start to your game. Every faction that starts in the game willhave a different starting point in their history. One faction may start at the dawn of their space travel, while another may already be a flourishing space empire complete with space colonies and massive fleets.
As a result of how way the victory conditions are constructed, just because one faction may be more advanced doesn’t mean they are sure to win. Further details will be continuously released through Greywolf’s devlog, which they update on a biweekly basis.
I’ll personally continue to follow Dawn of Andromeda, along with any other upcoming 4X games. It’s a promising genre that has tons of room for growth.