Paradox has announced the imminent release of its next two grand strategy games — Stellaris (9 May) and Hearts of Iron IV (6 June). The gameplay video above highlights the start of a Stellaris game – it looks promising! The key will be the extent to which Stellaris can combine the best of the 4X (discovery, exploration) and grand strategy (dynamic empires) genres, while avoiding the usual late-game pitfalls, snowballing and micromanagement. This is one reason I’m so interested in the game’s AI sector governors – if implemented well, they hold out the promise of a transition to late-game “macromanagement” a la Nobunaga’s Ambition.
In other news:
- Here is an interesting look back at the making of Diablo, 20 years ago. Did you know that its isometric appearance drew inspiration from X-COM?
- And here is a short reflection about the power that player characters have over NPCs. It makes a good companion to this May 2015 piece about the worldbuilding in The Witcher 3, which, the author argues, derives much of its effectiveness from the way NPCs respond to Geralt. I still need to play that game…
- Finally, here is an interesting glimpse inside the under-reported Chinese gaming industry.